I hate that everything you buy at the grocery has tons of sugar added. Drives me nuts. It means I have to wash the sugar coating off dried cranberries before I use them, and it leads me to do things like stand in a crowded condiment aisle, muttering angrily to myself about how I guess I'll have to learn to make my OWN damn ketchup.
|This is misleading|
And this no-sugar added nonsense is no better. Calorie free marshmallow topping? Not natural. Full disclosure: I eat dessert every single day. Sometimes I literally eat dessert for dinner (seems efficient, no?). I cook with things like cream, butter, and chocolate, and I shamelessly lick beaters without even scraping them first. But. I do not like for my desserts to masquerade as health food. It's confusing, and it creeps me out. Similarly, no matter how hard woman's magazines insist that it's true, apple slices do not quell cravings for chocolate ice cream . Let's just accept that dessert and health foods are two separate things (frozen bananas are a different story, but we'll come back to that another day).
|Can we be friends? Maybe without Katie bitching about it?|
That said, this applesauce is healthy enough to have with breakfast, and decadent enough that it could probably pass for dessert. I don't know where it's been all my life. The unexpected combination of maple syrup and orange zest/ juice make it rich without weighing the dish down.
This original recipe is called Apple Pie Applesauce, but I made some minor tweaks that pushed mine out of what I would call pie territory (which sounds like somewhere I would love to live). I increased the amount of orange, which really brightened up the taste, adding a touch of summer to what would have otherwise been a perfect fall dish (technically, I left the amount of orange the same while scaling the rest of the recipe down). I swapped some of the syrup for a touch of dark brown sugar, which adds an almost buttery richness to anything it touches. A bit of vanilla just seemed to make sense.
|Everything about this makes sense.|
Orange-Vanilla Spiced Applesauce
Adapted just slightly from
I used Fuji apples, but really only because they were the only ones left at the grocery store that didn't specifically warn against using for sauce. Beyond that, I have no apple recommendations. The original suggests Jonathan or Macintosh.
The original also suggests serving this warm with a pat of butter, which is brilliant and delicious!
3 pounds apples
1/8 cup pure maple syrup (REAL maple syrup! You'll regret it if you cheap out on this!)
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (light or a touch more syrup would work fine)
2 inch piece orange zest (use a vegetable peeler to peel off a very thin strip. Avoid the white pith, which is bitter)
juice of half an orange
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon