Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Raw Vegan Spiced Apple Cider (Hot or Cold)

I might be going a little overboard this year with Holiday decor and yule tide cheer, but I just can't help it! It's in my nature to turn into a giddy little kid at Christmas time, wearing a lot of red and green, not to mention a permanent grin. 
To me the Holiday season isn't about how many gifts have my name on them (although I do love presents!), it's about being with loved ones, eating really good food, turning up the volume on being good to yourself, and slowing down to enjoy the end of an incredibly rewarding year. 
Instead of our usual Holiday party mister AtV and I have decided to keep things more intimate, which I truly can't complain about. We'll most likely have a few friends over this weekend to enjoy the annual Christmas Truckers parade that conveniently passes in front of our house, followed by a simple snack buffet and a couple festive beverages.
That's where today's recipe comes in to play. 
This drink is very similar to the one featured here, with slight changes, making it (in my opinion) easier to execute and more party friendly -- especially if you have silly vintage Holiday koozies.
Important Note About This Recipe
There's a little bit of "beforehand prep" that you'll need to do in order to have this wonderful drink ready, which I'll note in the first 2 Steps. Other than that it's really not that labor intensive at all!
Special Tools You'll Need:
2 Large (24 oz. each) Mason Jars 
Medium sized Fine Mesh strainer
Big Bowl
Raw Vegan Spiced Apple Cider (Hot or Cold)
Makes roughly seven liquid cups 
Step 1.
Making Your Apples
In a medium sized mixing bowl combine:
4.5 c sliced/chopped Apples with the skin still on (I recommend a red/yellow Apple like Braeburn)
5 Tbsp Coconut Crystals
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Allspice
1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg
Mix everything together, transfer to an air tight container and place it in your fridge. 
You want the Apples to marinate in the spices/sweetener for at least 2 hours - overnight is even better. You'll notice that the apples/spices will reduce in size to about 4 cups, in addition to creating an amazingly tasty spiced apple juice that naturally occurs during the marination process.
Step 2.
Making the Spiced Tea
This is the part of the recipe where you'll need to break out your Large Mason Jars
Heat up 6 cups of water - its up to you how warm/hot you want your tea water to be.
Set up your 2 Mason Jars 
Adding the same amount of the following in to BOTH jars:
3 cups of water
2 bags Darjeeling Tea 
1 Bag Chai Tea
1/4 c dried Apple slices
Let your Tea Water and all of the above sit/steep until the water is a golden Amber color. Remove the tea bags and dried apple when finished. 
You can also do a cold brew with everything noted above leaving it to brew overnight in your fridge.
Step 3.
Putting it all together & Making your Spiced Apple Cider
Into your Blender combine:
All of the Apples from Step 1.
All of the Tea Water from Step 2
1/4 c Lemon Juice
1 c Coconut Crystals
In your Blender puree in high for 30 seconds...
From here the only thing left to do is run your super fancy Holiday drink through a strainer...
Using your whisk, gently stir around the Cider as it strains, this will allow you to get as much of the juice from the pulp as you can...leaving you with this:
Don't throw out that Spicy Apple Pulp!
Stick it in a container and save it for tomorrows recipe! I promise you won't be disappointed!
Okay, now that you've strained everything (it really doesn't take very long), the next step is up to you.
Do you want this beverage served warm/hot, or on the rocks? 
If you decide to serve this as a warm/hot beverage you can either keep it in a crock pot set at low, or pour it into a tea pot and warm it at your guests request. 
See you back here tomorrow with a recipe involving the yummy leftover pulp from today's post...
Spiced Apple Sugar Cookies anyone?


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