Fall Favorites: Apple Crisp, Hot Spiced Apple Cider + Hot Buttered Rum

I love the fall for many reasons: leather boots and jeans, the crisp crunch of the leaves under my feet, cheering for the Steelers, heading out to the Blue Ridge Mountains for the fall colors, and breaking out my favorite fall recipes.

Every October when our boys were small, my husband and I would take them out to a farm in Middleburg to pick apples.  The clean air, the climbing, and the blue sky heightened our senses.  The exertion made them tired…and hungry.  Once we arrived back at home, we would cut the apples and bake a homemade apple crisp.  It was an easy recipe that they always loved. They couldn’t wait to help prepare this delicacy, and they would wait impatiently for the prize.  Once out of the oven, it didn’t last long in the pan.  They would both be sticky, but satisfied, messes.

Here’s the recipe and a picture of the finished product…but it just doesn’t convey how delicious it is, especially after a long day in the crystalline air of the Blue Ridge.

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Apple Crisp

4 cups apples (sliced ½ in thick)
Place them in a buttered 8 X 8 X 2 casserole
Pour ½ cup of water over the apples

Then mix:
7 T butter
1 cup sugar
¾ cup flour
Mix until crumbly. Spread crumbly mixture over apple mixture. Bake uncovered 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream and/or ice cream.
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Another family favorite is hot spiced apple cider.  It’s great therapy for brisk fall air.  Halloween is a perfect occasion for this warming drink.  I always have a pot on the stove for the trick or treaters to sample, and for my guests when they arrive for Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner.  Here is my favorite recipe:

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

2 T William Sonoma Mulling Spices (place in tea ball)
1 quart apple cider

Place in pot on stove, boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer. Place a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange in the cup and serve hot.

hot-buttered-rum

And of course, there is nothing like a hot buttered rum for your adult guests…well…just about any time.  A glass or two will warm the chill of the fall air, and relax your friends with a warm glow.  I have tried many recipes, but my favorite is out of the Garden & Gun magazine:

Hot Buttered Rum

8 cups apple cider
6 T fresh lemon juice
15 whole allspice berries
10 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into small bits
5 t dark honey
4 t unsalted butter
2 cups dark rum

Boil the first six ingredients, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add butter, stir until melted, strain into 8 warm mugs, and divide rum among th

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