I won’t keep the description on this one long, because it’s Christmas- and I know you’re after one thing anyway- the recipe.
This is my favorite at both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I throw it in a few hours before a get-together, and it not only makes a delicious cider, but it is also a free way to make your house instantly smell like the holidays (everybody always thinks we are baking an apple pie when they walk in.)
Also, here is a secret I learned a few years back:
Purchase cranberries when they go on super sale, usually about a week before Thanksgiving. I bought 6 bags this Thanksgiving for 99 cents each. The cranberries are good for up to around 10 months in the freezer, so I always purchase when they are cheap and store them until I’m ready to use them- usually by Christmas.
In addition, if you make my hard holiday punch (will release my recipe for this soon-it’s pretty darn fabulous) you can use frozen cranberries as a chiller for your punch. Win-win.
So without further adieu, the simplest and most delicious hot cider recipe:
Slow Cooker Hot Apple Cider
-3 apples, sliced (I like to slice two apples finely, and one in large rings-as seen in photos-to make the cider prettier.)
– 2 oranges, sliced
– 6 oz cranberries (about half of a regular 12oz bag)
– 4 tablespoons cinnamon (plus I typically throw in 1-2 cinnamon sticks)
– 1 teaspoon cloves (you can throw these in for spice, or leave them out)
– 2 cups water
– 3 cups apple juice
1. Put all ingredients into a slow cooker and make sure there is enough liquid inside that the cranberries can be seen floating on the top.
2. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Depending on when I need it ready by, I do both. I never cook on high if I am cooking it overnight.
3. Scoop cider directly from crock pot- strain if desired.
I add water or apple juice throughout the day as it depletes, and squish down the fruit a little more each time I do. This recipe fits perfectly in my small crock pot, or the 4qt one. I make a double batch for the bigger crock pot. My small crock pot typically produces 4-6 regular sized mugs of cider.