A Sip of Fall

My favorite flavor of fall has to be apple. I'm not actually a big fan of pumpkin, so to me fall is all about caramel apples, warm apple cider on a cool evening, and my aunt's apple dumplings at Thanksgiving. One of my favorite fall treats has to be a Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider. It's the perfect compliment to a crisp, fall day.

The cool air yesterday morning definitely felt like a preview of the upcoming fall weather. My husband and I were driving past a Starbucks and were excited to get some cider. We could practically taste the caramel apple flavor as we pulled up to the drive through, only to find out they were out of apple juice until Monday! We were pretty bummed, but it reminded me that I had found a recipe for it on Pinterest a few months back.  So I decided to try that out today. I was pleased to find that it was very similar to the Starbucks drink!

Not only is this drink easy to make, it is also economical.  For the past 6 years, I have lived within walking distance to a Starbucks.  Even though I don't now at our house, I still walk past Starbucks on my breaks at work.  I used to go quite frequently, that is until I sat down and figured out how much I was spending each month on coffee and pastries!  Now I just go once a month or so as a treat.  But, it's very tempting now that my favorite drink is back.  For a fraction of the cost, though, I can now have the caramel apple cider whenever I want.  I already had some of the ingredients, so I only paid about $6.  There is enough apple juice to make two batches, each batch making four 8 oz. servings.  That's a good deal compared to the $3+ per drink I would normally pay! I've seen various recipes that use Starbucks syrups, but this one utilizes items that are more common and you may already have around the house.

Here the recipe, found originally at A Year of Slow Cooking. As an added bonus, this treat fills your house with a wonderful smell as it is cooking.

Caramel Apple Cider Ingredients (yields four 8 oz servings):
  • 4 cups apple cider (The recipe called for the Tree Top brand. I couldn't find that so I used the Old Orchard apple juice I found at Wal-Mart.)
  • 3 tablespoons caramel syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons sweetened whipped cream (optional, for topping only)
Caramel Apple Cider Directions:
  1. Pour apple juice in a slow cooker (at least 2 quart slow cooker).
  2. Stir in the caramel syrup, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves.
  3. Cook on low for around 4 hours and then enjoy!
  4. For extra sweetness - Add a small dollop of whipped cream to the bottom of the mug, pour in the mixture, and then add whipped cream and caramel drizzle to the top.
Hope you enjoy this fall treat! This recipe is very sweet, much like the Starbucks drink.  If you find it too sweet, you could cut back on the syrup, or add more apple juice to the mixture.  I'll probably leave off the whipped cream most the time, but it is a nice treat occasionally!

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