Fall Flavors for Two

Mmmm…it’s definitely fall! Well, at least many of the days recently, it’s fall here in NC. It seems to vacillate between hot and humid and cool and crisp, if it’s not cool and rainy (like today). The apple crop is at the Farmer’s Market and is in my wonderful Produce Box. I absolutely adore a crisp Gala apple! The others are nice, but I love eating a small, Gala apple for a snack (several times a day, if I can!).

In my recent Produce Box, we had some of the most gorgeous apples. But their flesh is softer than I care to eat for a snack, and these things were monsterously large! The Produce Box newsletter had a number of recipes and suggestions to cook apples. Poking around the Internet, I ran across applesauce. Applesauce! Perfect! But, isn’t that an all day ordeal that takes all day, bushels of apples, and makes 632 quarts? Nope. It’s sooooo easy. And to make a delicious dessert for 2-3, it couldn’t be easier!

I found a number of crockpot apple pie recipes. There were a lot of similarities, but I just had to tinker with the varieties of what I found! So this is what I came up with. It tastes like liquid apple pie! No crunch crust or delectable crumb topping (perhaps my favorite), but a sweet (but not too sweet) and reasonably healthy dessert. I like this warm. Somewhere I saw that warm, spiced applesauce would be good over vanilla ice cream. It would!

Easy Crockpot Apple Pie Applesauce

Easy Crockpot Apple Pie Applesauce

Ingredients

     2 large apples
     1/2 cup water (or apple cider)
     1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
     1/2 tsp cinnamon
     3 Tbsp brown sugar (sub out half for Splenda to further cut calories)

Directions

    Peel and core the apple and cut them into eighths, then cut those slices in half lengthwise. Combine the everything but the brown sugar in a small crock pot. Cook on high for an hour and a half. You can check on it every half hour or so and stir if you’d like. The consistency may be to your liking sooner than 90 minutes.

    When it looks like applesauce (or that stirring it will cause the apples to melt into wonderful applesauce), add the brown sugar by tablespoon, tasting as you go. Some apples are sweeter than others and therefore require less sugar. Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved and the apples are broken up. You can use an immersion blender to speed things along and make sure there aren’t chunks being careful not to totally liquify the sauce. Cook for another 15 minutes (if you can wait that long).

If you’re lucky, this should make about 2 cups. An online recipe nutrition calculator tells me that a 2/3rd cup serving has about 135 calories, 5mg sodium, 40g carbs, and 4g fiber. That’s pretty guilt free for a snack! You can substitute Splenda Brown Sugar Mix (or make your own by mixing equal parts of Splenda and brown sugar) to save another 25 calories (9g carbs).

I’ve seen that you can leave the peels on and that a quick whirl with an immersion blender will make the peels disappear. I’ve got to try that one.

When I went to make my second batch of applesauce, I ran out of pumpkin pie spice. I went to the grocery store only to find that the tiny 2″ tall canister containing 1.12 ounces of spice (several tablespoons?) was $5.99! I paid that for 9 ounces of cinnamon! And none of the other component spices are that expensive! Why so expensive? So I made my own, since I keep plenty of spices on hand.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

  • 2 parts cinnamon
  • 1 part ginger
  • 1 part ground nutmeg
  • 1 part ground allspice

Mix together and store in a tightly closed container. For the applesauce recipe, use 1/8th of a teaspoon as a “part.” You’ll have a little extra — it’ll be a little more flavorful if you use the extra 1/8th of a teaspoon. If you want to fill your empty, little 2″ container, use a tablespoon as a “part.”

Spices are so expensive from the grocery! It’s pretty easy to save a lot of money and get organic spices in the process. See my post on buying bulk spices at Whole FoodsSix dollars for a few tablespoons of spice? Seriously? I’ll make it myself, thanks! And if I want a little more ginger or cloves, I can increase the amount, too!

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