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With fall just starting to set in, it's the perfect time to make the first batch of one of the season's best treats - apple cider. The spicy drink can be the toast of the senior community on its own or it can accompany a number of dishes to add that extra autumnal kick.
Homemade apple cider
You can always buy premade cider and add spices to taste, but better results often come from making it by hand. Fortunately, although the total process takes a few hours, it's as simple easy as pie. The following recipe will make about a gallon of cider, but you can adjust it to suit your own needs.
Cut apples into quarters. Place in large pot and cover with water, about 1 cup per apple. Add ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks, sweetener and vanilla extract while heating the pot. Bring to a boil and allow to boil uncovered for 1 hour. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for another two hours. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then mash apples in the pot. Strain out solids with a sieve or cheesecloth, then refrigerate the finished cider. The final product will likely be less sweet than premade cider. Add additional sweetener to taste if necessary.
Apple cider syrup
Maple syrup is fine on its own, but now that you've got tasty, homemade cider to spare, you can use it to spice up your breakfast. The following recipe uses premade cider, so if you're using a homemade version, you may want to omit the cinnamon and some of the sugar.
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat, and whisk until the mixture thickens. Leftover syrup can be refrigerated.