Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sip Guru: Jenny from The Southern Institute

So... remember last week when we said "let's celebrate fall with one last drink"? 
Well, we just have one more variation on Caramel Apple Cider. 
We had to share this one for several reasons: 

1. Homemade caramel sauce is great for lots of holiday recipes

2. Let's be fair to apple cider (my last post might have given it a bad rep), it really does carry over into Christmas time.

3. It's from Jenny at, there's really no more convincing needed after that.

Jenny's blog is so fun. She has such cute southern style (love these mod podge letters. So fun for bookselves, or baby's rooms), a great blog series called Meals Kids Love, and Kirst always hopes that Piper and her will craft one day like Jenny and Abby.

So... enough from us, here's Jenny:

Hello, everyone!  When my friends at kojo designs asked if I would share a favorite beverage with you all, I thought "Um...".  Literally, that was it.  I wanted to share something, but I had no idea what!  I didn't currently have any drink "recipes" or anything special that I made, so what did I do?  I came up with something, and luckily it worked.

One of my favorite things about it getting colder is hot seasonal beverages.  Starbucks happens to have many of them... the Pumpkin Spice Latte, the Salted Caramel Mocha, and the Caramel Apple Cider.  The trouble is that I think they changed their Caramel Apple Cider recipe last year, but whatever they did, I didn't like it.  HUGE disappointment.  Why not try to make one at home from scratch though?  So I have.

Caramel Apple Cider from The Southern Institute

First of all, when you think of a caramel apple cider what do you think of?  The caramel, right?  Of course, it's the most important part of the equation.  I didn't want to use a stale old store bought caramel sauce, so I decided to try to make one from scratch.  Everything I saw online spoke of how easy it was to make homemade caramel sauce.  Well, that may be true if you have a good recipe to follow.  The first recipe I found had beautiful photography and sounded delicious.  Unfortunately it failed.  Twice.  I followed the recipe carefully, but after two failed attempts I decided it must not be me... it must be the recipe.  I did another search and found this recipe from Simply Recipes.  Success on the first try!  And it was gorgeous!

It tastes as beautiful as it looks, believe you me... I've had a lot of tastes.  So with a beautiful caramel sauce I was ready to proceed.  I did not make the cider from scratch.  I bought a gallon of Trader Joe's spiced cider, which is delicious.  Here's what I did:

  • Warm 6-8 oz of spiced cider in a microwave safe mug for about one minute.
  • Add one HEAPING tablespoon of caramel sauce and stir until dissolved.
  • Top with homemade whipped cream.  This is what puts it over the top.
  • Drizzle with the caramel sauce.
  • ENJOY!
Incase you haven't ever made homemade whipped cream, I'll let you in on a little secret.  It's the easiest thing ever to make, and it tastes sooooooo gooooooood!  All you need is a container of heavy whipping cream and a hand held mixer (and maybe a pinch of sugar too).  Pour about a cup of the cream into a medium bowl and mix, mix, mix.  Start on low then slowly up to medium.  After a while the cream will start to get thicker.  You can turn the mixer to med-high at this point and continue to mix until it thickens up to the consistency of cool whip.  Yum!  

Enjoy the cool weather and your caramel apple cider!  I hope to see you over at The Southern Institute real soon!

See, we told you. Doesn't it looks de-li-cious!


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