Cinnamon Applesauce & Baked Peels

 Football, sweaters and scarves, changing colors, crisp air, pumpkin spice and apples. There is absolutely no better place to be this time of year than the Midwest - it's the one time of the year that I love absolutely everything about living in this part of the world. There is no better feeling than waking up to the first morning that requires a jacket and smells like crisp leaves. When that day rolled around this year, I knew I had to commemorate it by making one of my favorite fall staples: applesauce.

Growing up, I don't remember eating applesauce much, and when I did, it was always out of a jar. That all changed the first time I tasted my mother-in-law's homemade cinnamon applesauce. I'm not sure if she realizes how much I've picked up from her in the handful of years that Eric and I have been together. Before Eric and I were together, my staples were Lean Cuisine, cereal and mac 'n cheese. I remember the first time I ever met Eric's parents was over a weekend that we stayed with them (they were our almost-halfway meeting point between Eric's Ohio address and my Chicago one); we had tacos for lunch, and Audrey had made her own tortillas. Mind. Blown. You can do that? Over the past five years, my eyes have been open to whole, fresh foods, and I owe a large part of that to her example.

When I asked Audrey how she makes her applesauce, I couldn't believe how simple the process was. Why doesn't everyone do this? Even easier is the fact that my father-in-law Jim happens to have an affinity for fruit trees, so we have a built-in-source for beautiful, fresh, organic apples.

I was only making a small batch to start off with, so I just started off by peeling ten apples.

Then I used an apple corer/slicer (which saves a ridiculous amount of time) and let them simmer over medium heat for about 20 minutes before mashing them with a potato masher. Some people prefer to puree their applesauce further, but I like mine chunky. The last step is where the cinnamon comes in - ready for it? A handful of red hots.

That's it. I let it simmer for a few more minutes and stirred them in until they melted. The red hots give this applesauce a beautiful color and just enough added sweetness.

As I started cleaning up, I went to throw away my apple peels, but I just couldn't bring myself to waste them. After all, I had worked so hard to try to perfectly remove the skin from each apple all in one pass (please tell me I'm not the only one that takes great satisfaction in removing the whole peel without a break). Anybody? 

I figured there was something I could do with them, so I ended up tossing them in about 1/8 cup of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon, spread them onto a baking sheet with some parchment paper, and popped them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

What I ended up with was a slightly crisp, wonderfully caramelized snack.

A wonderful beginning to apple season. And although Lucy's first-ever reaction to applesauce looked like this:

now she happily gives her seal of approval by downing a big bowl, with "mmmm"s at every bite. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting! We love to read your comments on our projects. When you leave a comment it may not post immediately, but don't worry we will see it!