It smells like fall around here!
If your mom is at all like mine, fall and apples go hand in hand. Every October, our family picked BAGS of apples at Erie Orchards then sat around the house impatiently as the smell of cinnamon and spices filled the air. We could not wait for that applesauce, it was almost as if we forgot about the pound of fritters and 2 caramel apples we each consumed earlier in the day.
I make applesauce every Autumn and I always run into the same obstacles:
1) I cannot find a decent orchard (hello, Tennessee, Georgia, and Arizona)
2) Macintosh apples are almost impossible to find anywhere south of the Mason Dixon Line (see note below)
3) The MR. is not a fan of applesauce which means I have to find a sneaky way to make it taste like dessert (maybe that is not so much of a problem)
I prefer Macintosh apples (otherwise known as Yankee Apples in the South) for sauces and pies because they offer the perfect amount of sweetness without adding sugar. It seems I will never find these illusive apples in the Arizona desert but the baby Gala apples I used were wonderful (I won’t count the caramel sauce drizzled all over each bowl if you don’t).
Vanilla, Caramel & Ginger Applesauce
Prep time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 1 hour
3 lbs. of apples, cored and chopped (I prefer Macintosh but used Gala apples, any sweet apples will be fine)
1 c. of water with a splash of lemon juice added
1 tsp. pure Madagascan Vanilla
1 cinnamon stick plus ground cinnamon to taste
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
2 tbsp. caramel sauce (I used Robert Lambert’s Hot Ginger Caramel Sauce)
Combine the water and lemon juice in a large pot.
Place the peeled & sliced apples into the pot and place on the stove.
Add the cinnamon stick, vanilla and ginger and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes (until apples are soft and easily broken with your spatula)
Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce reaches your desired consistency, mine simmered for approx. 20 more minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and mix 1.5 tbsp. of the caramel into the applesauce and use the remaining to garnish individual serving dishes. Serve warm. According to the MR. you should serve the applesauce with vanilla ice cream but a treat like that is only allowed on Saturdays around here.