• February 22, 2017

Warm up with cider

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Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2012 4:30 am

Even though it won’t be quite as cold this Christmas as it sometimes is in Texas, my family will spend the holiday sipping cider and hot chocolate and nibbling on an assortment of cookies while we open presents.

Cider and hot chocolate have been part of my family’s Christmas tradition as long as I can remember.

Below are three recipes we all enjoy. My mom’s traditional apple cider, a cranberry cider I enjoy and a spicy hot chocolate — a Mexican twist on traditional cocoa inspired by my brother-in-law.

Spiced apple cider


  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon whole allspice
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 large orange, quartered with peel
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 quarts apple cider or apple juice


  1. Place filter in coffee basket, and fill with brown sugar, allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick, salt, nutmeg and orange wedges.
  2. Pour apple cider into coffee pot where the water usually goes. Brew and serve hot.

Note: This can also be made in a slow cooker or in a large pot on the stove. Seal spices in a coffee filter or cheesecloth and place in pot, or mix them all together with the juice and strain as you serve it hot.

Makes: 2 quarts or 16 servings.

Cranberry cider


  • 2 quarts cranberry juice
  • 2 oranges, zested
  • 14 whole cloves
  • 1½ cups dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. Pour cranberry juice into a slow cooker; set on high.
  2. Add the zest from the oranges, cloves, cranberries, vanilla extract, honey and cinnamon sticks.
  3. Heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and steamy, about 20 minutes.

Makes: 2 quarts or 16 servings.

Spicy hot chocolate


  • 1½ cups instant hot chocolate mix
  • ½ cup chocolate syrup
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 cups warm water


  1. In a slow cooker, mix hot chocolate, cinnamon and chili powder. Add syrup, milk and water and stir until combined.
  2. Heat on high, stirring occasionally, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot and top with a dollop of whipped cream or marshmallows, if desired.

Makes: 16 servings.

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