I can't get enough of apple cider this time of year. I'm lucky to live relatively close to an orchard with an old-fashioned apple-cider press. Deal's Orchard in Jefferson sells their apple cider in Hy-Vee and Fareway stores in central Iowa. The cider is so good, especially served cold. But I usually warm up a cup of cider in the microwave, with a little brown sugar and cinnamon mixed in, when the weather turns chilly.
So I was looking forward to making a batch of spiced apple cider on the stovetop for a change. I found the nutmeg pods and vanilla pod called for in the recipe at a local spice store near my office. Whole nutmeg and vanilla pods aren't available at my small-town grocery store.
The cider smelled wonderful as it simmered on the stove. The little vanilla seeds floated within my favorite mug.
But it looks, and tastes, even better with the fresh whipped cream. I added brown sugar and vanilla to the whipped cream to match the flavors in the cider. I couldn't find walnuts or honey in my pantry, so I used pecans and maple syrup.
This cider was so rich, I couldn't finish the whole mug. But I enjoyed the combination of cool whip cream and hot apple cider. It almost reminded me of apple pie a la mode. Made me think of another local orchard that offers cider shakes during the fall. I might have to drive over to that orchard and give those shakes a try.
Can't wait for next week's challenge on Martha and Me!