Even though I'm not a fan of the cold, I am really excited to get to start cooking and baking again. While the outdoor-sports people are likely doing backflips today, I am devouring the cookbooks and pantry. While they are getting all kinds of exercise, I'll be putting on that extra-layer of fat. A girl has to stay warm, right? Moderation...I know.
The first things I make in winter are hot drinks.
Our family loves them all. Hot cider, hot chocolate, hot tea, hot double-carmel lattes.. (okay, that last one is mine). You get the idea. One of our favorite cold weather drinks is hot wassail. Our version of wassail is a citrus/apple/spicy concoction.
In case you're feeling chilly, I'd like to give you the "kind-of" recipe. I say, "kind-of" because I never really make it the same way twice. There aren't any true measurements and sometimes I substitute one item for another. Still, the basic concept is the same. Give it a try. Once you taste it, you may not mind the cold, blowing snow outside :)
I make mine in a crock-pot on low and let it go all day. If running low, feel free to add to the liquid at anytime.
8 cups apple cider or apple juice
2 cups orange juice
2 apples, cut up into chunks
2 clementines, peeled, divided into parts. I use the parts, not the rind.
3 whole cinnamon sticks,
1/4 tsp of whole cloves or 1/8 tsp. of ground cloves
1/4 tsp. apple pie spice
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Start with the cut up fruit in a bowl. Mix it with all the spices, save for the whole cinnamon sticks.
Put the fruit mixture in the bottom of a crock pot. You can do the mixing directly in the pot. I like to make the biggest mess possible :(
Layer cinnamon sticks on top. Pour the juices over the mixture and cover it up. Set it on low for one to two hours. Like anything made in a crock pot, the longer you can wait, the better it will be. Enjoy!
At any time, I add or substitute this recipe with lemonade, pears, peaches, pumpkin pie spice, or for my Michigan friends, a can or two of Vernors. The carbonation is fantastic. You can top the wassail with your favorite whipped cream and cinnamon. If you don't care to stay warm, (who are you?) you can also top it off with vanilla ice cream.
On days when you can't possibly find the time, but would love something warm to drink, try these. They are very, very good :)
Do you make something similar at your house? Any suggestions on improving the recipe? Let me know!
Keep warm, friends :)