Homemade Applesauce and Gingerbread

I am swooning at this moment because the kitchen smells incredible.

On the stove is a big pot of freshly picked apples boiling down for applesauce, and in the oven, a pan of gingerbread.

My Pennsylvania Dutch Mom used to serve this combination when we were kids.

Our first frost last night, made me burrow deeper under the covers, calculating how many days until the garden starts growing again.
It is a shocking number that is best forgotten in the interest of happiness and health.

When its cold out, the kitchen becomes my saving grace.
In the next few months I will churn out every comfort food I can dream up.

This morning we bought apples from a local farmer. How lucky we are that our region is rich with prosperous orchards.
(photo by Tessa Traeger published in Martha Stewart Living, September 2012)

Today I want to fill the house with their fragrance.

I don’t know how I lived so long without one of these. It only took me several minutes to core a large pile of apples.

The cores look so cool – they are going out into the woods for the deer that pass by every morning.

By the time you drive your car to town to buy applesauce, you could have made your own fresh pot. It is easy.

Homemade Applesauce
6 lbs of apples (about 16)
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider

Core the apples (peel if you are not going to use a food mill) and place in a large pot with the cider.

Bring to a boil and simmer gently uncovered until the apples are soft and break down, about 45 minutes to one hour. Make sure you stir the apples up from the bottom of the pan occasionally.

If you have a food mill, you can skip this step.
(I have the Oxo Good Grips Food Mill and love it.)

Then I passed my mixture through the food mill because I like the consistency to be like baby food.

Return the apples to the pot,and add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and stir to melt the sugar and blend the spices.

Serve warm with warm gingerbread, and call it a day!
You will be surrounded by appreciative smiles and can take the rest of the day off.

My book group had a lively discussion about The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman fueled by a perfect fall dessert.
P.S. Pick up the book – it is a riveting novel about the consequences of choice.

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