Ahhh, autumn! The crunch of crisp leaves underfoot; a sip of spiced cider; the heady aroma of fall leaves burning, pumpkin pies baking, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
Here are a couple of recipes to bring the scent of autumn into your home:
Baked Apple Cuplets
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine the one-quarter cup sugar with the one-half teaspoon cinnamon. Peel and core the apples, and then roll in the mixture. Place in custard cups coated with nonstick spray. Fill the apple cavities with any remaining sugar/cinnamon mixture and set aside.
To make the batter, stir together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Lightly beat the egg, mix with the melted butter and vanilla, and then add to the dry ingredients. Stir well. The batter will be thick. Put 2 tablespoons of the batter over each apple. Set the custard cups in a baking dish and bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the apples are tender. Serves 6.
You can use these cider mulls for a festive and aromatic drink. When packaged in a pretty bag, they make a delightful gift.
1 medium orange
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks cinnamon
Apple cider or juice
Cut the orange in half and scoop out the pulp. Place a crumpled ball of aluminum foil in each orange half to maintain their shape. Place them on a baking sheet and dry in a 200-degree oven for 4 to 5 hours, leaving the door slightly open. Remove the foil and allow the orange halves to dry in the oven for 15 minutes more.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, allspice and nutmeg. Mix well. Pack half of the mixture into each orange section. Decorate the tops with a whole cinnamon stick and cloves, pushing them down into the brown sugar mixture. To serve: put one mull into 3 cups of cider and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve hot. To give as a gift, wrap each half in plastic wrap and attach directions.
Makes two mulls, or enough for about 6 (1-cup) servings.