The first time this was made, I forgot about it. It took me about two minutes to dump all the ingredients into my crock pot, hit start, tuck it back into my pantry and leave for the day. I set the timer so it would be done after my kids naps and we could have in a little late afternoon treat. Except then, I forgot about it. We came home, remarked how it smelled like Christmas in the house and was puzzled as to why. A few hours went by when I walked by the pantry and got a strong whiff. I stopped, squinted my eyes and sniffed the air, trying to follow the scent like a dog. I still didn't remember until I sniffed into the pantry door. And this is why I think dementia might be in my future - or present-. I unplugged the slow cooker and since we were headed out the door to dinner and it was too late to partake of our treat that day, I'd leave it to cool on the counter for a few minutes before sticking it in the fridge for reheating the next day. Except, I forgot it was left on the counter until I came down the stairs the next morning, and since it had oranges in it as well as spice, I knew I had to throw it all away. A few of you might be wondering about my decision, but when you grow up in a family who is very conscious of bacteria growth and cooked fruits and vegetables, and salmonella and all that jazz, you tend to error on the side of throwing things away.
So, I tried it again, and my patience was rewarded by a big steamy cup, complete with softly whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon on top. If you don't put whipped cream on top of your apple cider you are missing out big time. It's a little like caramel apple cider in that it gives a hint of sweet luxuriousness and richness to the cup, but not in the way that it makes it taste like caramel, because were talking about whipped cream here, people. If you want carmel sauce, add that. I don't know why I have to explain this.
May I suggest bringing a cup of this trick or treating? I love walking and watching all the little kids whirl by in their costumes and listening to my kids debate which store hands out the best candy while sipping on something piping hot and festive for the season. Plus, it keeps your hands warm.
You know what I never do? I never add alcohol to the hot drink you see me carrying downtown during the trick-or-treating each year. I don't add peppermint schnapps to my hot chocolate, or fill my coffee mug with mulled wine, and this year I most definitely won't be adding rum to my spiced cider because I'm pretty sure that's wrong
Crock Pot Spiced Apple Cider
2 quarts (64-oz or 8 cups) apple cider
Six 3-inch cinnamon sticks, plus more for serving, if desired
1 medium orange, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon whole cloves
Whipped cream, for serving
Pour apple cider into a crock pot. Add cinnamon sticks, orange quarters, and cloves. Cook on ow for 4 hours. When done, either pass cider through a sieve to strain out solids or ladle straight into mugs, pick out spices or allow them to settle to the bottom of the mug. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy hot.
This recipe might seem simple, but the flavor is just right.