Alex's Perfect Mulled Apple Cider for Halloween

This Halloween, I’m taking a break from the usual pumpkin-related suspects and immersing myself in apples. I love to mix different apples when cooking. I always look for crisp texture, not too sweet and slightly floral.  For reliable texture that stands the cooking test I go for Granny Smith and Rome. For snacking and raw in salads I prefer Macouin, Braeburn and Royal Gala. For pickling? Fuji. Another effective approach is to totally ignore what everyone tells you to buy and get the apples that look the best to you.

This week, I'm sharing my warm and comforting Mulled Apple Cider recipe.

Mulled Apple Cider

1 gallon apple cider. (Which cider is the best? The fewer ingredients, the better the cider.)

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
10 cinnamon sticks

1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and lightly crushed with the side of a knife (like a garlic clove)

The juice from 2 lemons (and a little bit of the zest as well)
The juice from 1 orange (and a little bit of the zest as well)
2 Empire, Macouin or McIntosh apples, cored and cut into small pieces

1.    Bring the apple cider to a boil and skim the surface with a ladle. Reduce the heat until the cider simmers lightly. Reduce the cider for about 10 minutes. This will intensify the flavor. Add all of the other ingredients and allow them to “steep” with heat off for about 15 minutes before serving. Great served warm.

2.    Want to try something different? Freeze some chopped mint into your ice cubes and serve the cider cooled and iced with the mint cubes.

Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

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