Sunday, December 16, 2012

Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider

I love Christmas time.  There are just so many wonderful things about it. I love the crafts, the songs, the lights, all of it.

One of my favorite things to do on a really cold December day is to grab a Caramel Apple Cider from Starbucks while I'm out shopping.

However, this year I haven't really gotten the chance to do that yet.  We have had a few cold days but overall the weather has been really nice. While it has been great to be able to still send the kids in the back yard, I'm not a fan of drinking scalding hot drinks when I'm wearing a t-shirt. 

HEY!!!! MOTHER NATURE!!!! Stop playing Angry Birds on your iPad and pay attention!!!! It's December not October!!!!

Plus, it doesn't help that all the Starbucks in our new area aren't convenient for me. As good as they are, they aren't worth a 3 mile detour.

Then one magical day, a homemade version of Starbucks apple cider popped up on Pinterest and I leaped for joy.  Not jumped, leaped.  As in 10 Lords a Leapin. bwahahahahahah (I have the flu and flus make me tired and loony)

Homemade Apple Cider
4 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons caramel syrup (the ice cream topping)
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Use a 2-quart slow cooker. Mix it all in together---stir, and cook on low for about 4 hours. I like to put it on after I clean up the breakfast dishes and then leave it alone until our after-school snack. I've also made a large pot for Girl Scout events and  playdates. The kids really like it, and it's a nice change of pace from hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Leftovers refrigerate and reheat well (in the microwave).

So I grabbed the ingredients the next time I was at the store and came home very excited to try it out.  I got everything I needed then discovered that I had grabbed a jar of butterscotch topping and not caramel.  I wish I could blame that on the flu but sadly no, my daughter was screaming and I was late picking up my son from school so as I walked by the ice cream topping shelf I just grabbed a jar that was the same color as caramel.

Eventually I had everything I needed, so I went to Starbucks and got a caramel apple cider so I could compare the two.

I could not find ground cloves anywhere so I threw in 4 whole cloves and fished them out before consumption.

I threw it all in the crock pot and went about my business.  After about 20 min the house started smelling really good.  So even if it turned out to be a gross drink I didn't care because it smelled great.

After 4 hours it was time to test them and compare

The Verdict: Obviously the look is very different (mine is on the right).  The homemade version didn't mix together as well as I thought it would and things kept settled pretty quickly so it had to be stirred before every sip.

My husband says he couldn't taste any difference.  I could definitely taste the cloves in mine and not the Starbucks one, but I actually liked it better with the stronger clove taste.  I bet if I only put 2 cloves in then it would be hard to tell the difference between the two. 

Unfortunately my kids didn't like it so sadly I will have to drink the whole batch and pretend that it's healthy because it has apples in it.


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