Friday, November 9, 2012

Crockpot Pumpkin Chai Spice Applesauce

I love apple season. I adore going apple picking, I enjoy going to the grocery store and discovering new-to-me varieties (my favorite find this year is the Gingergold), I love eating plain apples out of hand, putting them in my daily oatmeal, baking with them, making apple chips in my dehydrator….my love for apples is pretty much all-inclusive. One of my favorite apple recipes from last year was this Pumpkin Applesauce from The Novice Chef. I decided to mix it up a little by increasing the pumpkin, adding some maple syrup and chai spices, and cooking it in my crockpot.

applesauce 2

Crockpot Pumpkin Chai Spice Applesauce

Adapted from here
Makes about 9 1/2 cup servings

2 ½ lbs apples, cored and roughly chopped (I used a mix of Golden Delicious and Gala)
¾ cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 packets Truvia
1 tbsp Ideal Brown Sweetener
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chai spice, to taste (recipe below)

Place the chopped apples in the crockpot. Add the water, lemon juice, Truvia, Ideal Brown Sweetener, and cinnamon. Turn the crockpot on low heat and let the apples cook for six hours, stirring occasionally. Add the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and vanilla. If you prefer a chunky applesauce, stir the mixture with a spoon until combined. If you like a smoother sauce, use an immersion blender to mix the ingredients. After the applesauce has reached the consistency you desire, add the chai spices to taste. I used all of the spice blend in my applesauce, but I recommend waiting until the end of the cooking process and tasting as you add since the spices are definitely on the more potent end of the spectrum.

Chai Spice Blend

½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

applesauce 1

For the minimal effort involved in preparing this applesauce, I was really happy with how it turned out. My apples were perfectly sweet to begin with, but I do have quite the sweet tooth, so I appreciated the extra sweetness from the Truvia, brown sugar, and maple syrup. The pumpkin and chai spices give the applesauce a decidedly warm flavor perfectly reminiscent of fall, and I especially enjoyed the addition of cardamom. This makes quite a bit of applesauce, so in addition to eating it by the bowlful, I have used it in Greek yogurt parfaits, overnight oats, and I think it will also find its way into some apple cinnamon protein muffins in the near future!

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