I’m really more of a summer girl, but there are things I adore about fall. I love to watch the leaves turn, to bundle up in a comfy sweater on a cool autumn night, to sit around an open fire with friends. One of the things I love most though, is spiced apple cider.
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I know I can drink cider any time of year, but really. It just sort of screams “fall.” It has that…well, something special that just goes perfectly with football games and falling leaves.
And the fact that I can have it simmering away all day in my crock pot, making my kitchen smell downright amazing? That’s a pretty serious bonus.
Spiced Apple Cider
Maybe apple cider is best in the fall and winter because of the warm autumn spices that just don’t seem to work as well during the spring and summer months. This recipe has some of my favorite flavors – orange, cinnamon, and cloves – but then kicks it up a notch with just a touch of five spice.
If you haven’t tried five spice…well, you should. It’s amazing. It has some ingredients that seem a little odd with apple cider, but the result is so, so good.
Five spice is a Chinese blend of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. (Yep, fennel!) This is a spice that’s easy to come by at your local grocery store, and you only need a little. (Don’t give into temptation and add more than is called for…a little goes a long way!)
If you’re looking for a great slow cooker, here are some of my favorites!
Crock-Pot 6-Quart Programmable Cook & Carry Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel , SCCPVL610-SHamilton Beach (33473) Slow Cooker, Programmable, 7 Quart, SilverCrock-Pot SCCPVL600S Cook’ N Carry 6-Quart Oval Manual Portable Slow Cooker, Stainless Steel
Are you ready? Let’s make some cider!
1/2 gallon fresh apple cider (you might even be able to get it fresh-pressed from an orchard during the fall months!)
1 medium orange, sliced
1/2 c orange juice
3 whole cinnamon sticks
10-15 whole cloves (closer to 10 if you like your cider mild, closer to 15 if you like it spicy)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
For an optional garnish:
Fresh orange slices
whole cinnamon sticks
- Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and stir well to combine them. Place the cover on your slow cooker.
- Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours. (Your kitchen will smell so good while it’s simmering!)
- When the cooking time is done, discard the whole cinnamon sticks and orange slices. If your slow cooker has a “keep warm” setting, feel free to use it!
- If you would like to garnish your mugs, place a fresh orange slice and a whole cinnamon stick in each mug. Ladle the warm spiced apple cider into the mugs and enjoy!
*If you would like to switch up the garnishes a bit, feel free! Fresh cranberries would be fun, as would a touch of caramel syrup. (Just not together!)
*If you would like, feel free to substitute cranberry juice for some or all of the orange juice. The result will be a spiced cider that is a bit more on the tangy side, which is good too!
Be sure to print the recipe below and keep it on hand!