A Saucy Reminder

The man and I went apple picking several weeks ago. Back at our place, we went apple eating. I made pies and cakes and, of course, sauce — twice. 
Applesauce is so easy to make that it didn’t occur to me to post a recipe for it until now. I figured everyone’s doing it, and why not? There’s no point buying the jarred stuff unless you can’t get your hands on apples.
I made my last batch in a slow cooker, but a covered, heavy-bottomed pot over low heat works just as well.
Spiced Applesauce
(Use this as more of a loose guide than a recipe. I NEVER measure when I make applesauce, and nothing has ever gone terribly wrong. Also, note that there is no sugar listed here; I don’t use it. If your apples are tart, feel free to add a bit of sugar.)
10 apples of your choice, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks (I used macintosh and cortland.)
1-2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Toss everything into the slow cooker, set on low. (Alternatively, hold back on the spices and use them to flavor the end product. I realize some folks don’t like brownish applesauce.)
Stir once in a while.
Cook until sauce has reached desired consistency. Mine took only about 3 hours — my pot runs hot and I like a few chunks in my applesauce.

Cider Duffins

Cinnamon-sugar donut muffins with a touch of cider syrup.

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Vermont come fall, cider donuts reign supreme, calling to tourists and locals alike from mom-and-pop bake shops, roadside stands, apple orchards, even gas stations. Sweet and fattening, these golden-brown chubbers are often sold in brown paper bags slightly stained with oil. More often than not, they’re still warm from the fryer. Praise be.
Thankfully, luckily, perhaps dangerously, cider donuts are easy to replicate at home in the form of Cider Duffins (you guessed it, a cross between a donut and a muffin). The batter is simple, and there’s no need for deep-frying. A swim in a butter bath before a tumble in cinnamon-sugar achieves borderline perfection in the donut mouthfeel department. If there is such a department. 
Cider Duffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 tablespoon Cinnamon Cider Syrup*
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 24-cup mini-muffin pan.
Whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In large bowl, mix brown sugar, melted butter, egg, Cinnamon Cider Syrup and milk. 
Stir in flour mixture until combined.
Spoon batter into mini-muffin tin. (I used a 1-inch scoop and was not able to fill the entire tin — made about 18 as I recall.)
Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 15-17 minutes. (While duffins bake, mix cinnamon and granulated sugar in small bowl.)

While still hot from the oven, dip each duffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Set on wire rack to cool (or don’t bother and just eat straight away, as we did this morning).

* I buy my Cinnamon Cider Syrup, a tasty coupling of maple syrup and boiled cider, from Wood’s Cider Mill just up the road in Weathersfield, Vermont. Look here for more info.