I love the taste and smell of fall and winter spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. There's something both festive and comforting about them. A cup of cider heated with these aromatic spices is the perfect beverage this time of year. It warms you up and smells oh-so-yummy.
Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a mixture that is great to have on hand throughout the fall and winter for making up quick cups or big batches of spiced cider. Or spiced anything, really. This mix is delicious added to coffee, cocoa, tea, wine, and any ol' kind of juice. You can spice up your hot drinks by the cup, or make up a big batch on top of the stove or in the crock pot.
This mix also makes great gifts. To learn how, check out my post on:
Assemble the ingredients: brown sugar (I prefer dark for a richer flavor, but you can use light, too); ground dry spices--ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, mace.
You can whisk these together by hand in a bowl; but it mixes so much better and easier in a food processor. Just add the brown sugar and spices to the food processor bowl and pulse until everything is well mixed. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a time or two.
Done! Store your mix in an airtight container. It's ready to scoop into a cup or pot on the stove or crock pot of cider, or whatever hot beverage you choose.
Storage tip: Like plain brown sugar, this mixture can harden over time. It should be fine if used up in one season. For longer storage, you can keep it soft by putting a brown sugar keeper inside the container with the mix.
Here are some of the drinks you may want to heat up and combine with this spice mix: apple cider, cranberry juice, dry red wine, coffee, tea, or cocoa. Use your imagination and try the spice mix with other heated juices. Orange juice? Mango, peach, or apricot nectar? Cherry juice? The sky's the limit. Get creative.
Add one tablespoon of spice mix per cup of hot beverage. Use that same formula for making larger batches on the stove or in a crock pot: 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) mix for one quart (4 cups) of hot beverage. 1/2 cup mix for 2 quarts of hot beverage. Etc. Easy math!
By the cup, let the mixture steep for 5 minutes so everything dissolves and flavors blend. On the stove top, heat it up to a slow simmer and let it cook for 15 minutes. In a crock pot, cook it on high for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Orange or lemon slices make a flavorful, pretty garnish for ciders, wine, and juices. Try spiking it with a shot of rum for a hot after-dinner or party drink.
Add a cinnamon stick for a flavorful stir stick. Below are mugs of hot apple cider and cranberry cider. To make cranberry cider, use 1 part cranberry juice to 3 parts apple cider. If you use a cranberry juice cocktail (instead of 100% juice), you can mix it half and half with the cider.
Try adding the spice mix to the brew basket of your coffee maker right along with the ground coffee. 1/4 cup of spice mix will flavor a pot of coffee.
Below are mugs of spiced cocoa and spiced black coffee. Same formula as with cider and juice: 1 tablespoon of spice mix per cup of hot cocoa or coffee.
It's not just for drinks. This mix is also good sprinkled on muffins, cookies, toast, or pancakes before cooking them.
You will love having this spice mix on hand for an instant way to spice up all of your favorite hot beverages.
They don't just taste good, they smell heavenly, too!
5-1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (View recipe for making your own pumpkin pie spice at: www.theyummylife.com/recipes/24)
With food processor (recommended): Add all ingredients to food processor bowl and pulse until combined. By hand: Whisk spices together in small bowl; then add to brown sugar in large bowl. Whisk until combined. Store in airtight container. TO MAKE HOT SPICED CIDER: --Heat 1 cup cider with 1 tablespoon of mix. Steep for 5 minutes. --Heat 4 cups (1 quart) cider with 1/4 cup of mix. Simmer for 15 min. on stove top. In crock pot, cook on high for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. VARIATIONS: --For spiced cranberry cider, use 3 cups apple cider, 1 cup cranberry juice. (Equal parts if using cranberry juice cocktail.) --For spiced wine, coffee, tea, or hot cocoa, add 1 tablespoon of mix for each one cup of beverage. --For a spiced pot of coffee, add 1/4 cup of mix to coffee maker brew basket. --Get creative! Make your own combination of hot juice (orange? pomegranate? mango?) and spice mix. --Add a shot of rum for a hot after-dinner or party drink. --Garnish your drink with cinnamon sticks, orange/lemon slices, or whipped cream.
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