Cocktail: Mulled Wine

Here we are at December 1st. The last month of 2017.

It's probably cliche to say that December is a favorite month, but I'm saying it anyway. Tomorrow G and I will be picking out a Christmas tree and putting up decorations. I'll likely watch A Muppet Christmas Carol 10 times between now and the 25th. They'll be cookies to bake, shopping to do, and parties to get dressed up for. Throw in that Philadelphia does Christmas pretty well and I'm pretty excited for a busy month. 

 And those aforementioned parties? We'll need booze for those. And Christmastime is the perfect time for Mulled Wine to shine. Throw everything in a pot and let it hang out while your house is filled with the aroma of cinnamon and sweetness. Great for parties, or just a chilly Thursday night. 

Mulled Wine

Yields 4-6 drinks

750mL Merlot
2 cup pomegranate juice
2 cup apple cider
juice from half an orange
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
2 slices of orange
10-12 whole cloves

In a large saucepan, pour in wine, juice, apple cider, and orange juice. Add in cinnamon sticks and star anise. Push whole cloves through the slices of orange and add them into the pot. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve warm with cinnamon stick, orange slices, and/or pomegranate seeds as garnish.

This recipe can also be made in a crockpot: Throw everything in and let sit on low for an hour. After that hour, turn to a keep warm setting and remove the star anise from the crockpot so not to overpower the flavor. Cheers!

Recipe: Caramel Apple Galette

It's finally starting to feel like the best time of year for baking. Apples, pears, and pumpkins are in season. The cool weather makes it perfect for warm pie and cinnamon in everything. Plenty of holidays, gatherings, and reasons to share baked goods with family and friends. I'm into it and feeling refreshed and excited about baking again.

We're starting off simple because some times the simplest desserts are my absolute favorite. This galette has all the makings of an apple pie, but with less time and effort. We're using store bought crust to make it even easier, but feel free to use your favorite from-scratch recipe. Topped with homemade caramel sauce and melty ice cream, this little baby is a autumn dream.

Caramel Apple Galette

Yields 8 slices

1 store-bought pie crust
2-4 apples (both granny smith and honey crisp/gala)
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup salted caramel (I halved this recipe and had more than enough)
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg (for egg wash)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel, core, and slice your apples in thin slices. 

In a large bowl, mix sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix to combine. Add apples, add lemon juice, and toss until the apples are covered in the mixture. 

Roll out a pie crust a baking sheet lined with a nonstick mat. Arrange the apples in a circular pattern, starting from the center and working your way around. Leave 2 inches of crust around the outside for folding in the next step.

Fold the sides inward, working your way around the galette and overlapping slightly. Cut the tablespoons of butter into smaller chunks and sprinkle them around the tops of the apples. Brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle a little sugar. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and pour the caramel over the apples. Bake for an additional 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Serve warm!

Cocktail: Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd

Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd via Unusually Lovely

Something that's quickly becoming my favorite holiday tradition is hosting a pumpkin carving party for a handful of friends. Everyone brings a pumpkin, and we provide carving tools, stencils, snacks and some booze.

As someone who doesn't like bourbon, I've actually never had this cocktail. But I've made it a few times and this year I even received a few request to make it again. So I thought I would share the recipe here. This is an incredibly easy cocktail that serves a crowd, doesn't break the bank, and people can serve themselves. 

Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd from Unusuallylovely.com

Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd

Makes enough for 10-15 people

1 gallon apple cider
1 750mL bourbon
2 slices of orange
1 cinnamon stick
handful of whole cloves

In a large pot, add apple cider and cinnamon stick. Stick 4-5 whole cloves into each slices of orange and add to the pot. Simmer for 1 hour and then let cool completely.

In a large beverage dispenser or a punch bowl, add cider and bourbon and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove cinnamon stick and oranges and replace with fresh orange slices (optional). Encourage guests to pour their own drink, with or without ice, and garnish with cinnamon stick, orange slice, or apple slice. Cheers!

Apple Cider Spiked with Bourbon via UnusuallyLovely.com