As the weather gets cooler, cravings for warm, comforting foods grow stronger. Here are some recipes from your neighbors — sweet, savory and perfectly spiced — to help tide you over until Thanksgiving.
Fresh Apple Cake
By Janis Forrester
• 3 cups apples of choice, chopped (about 3 apples)
• 3 cups self-rising flour
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1¼ cups canola oil
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Chop apples. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Spray tube pan with baking spray and add batter. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Ponche Mexicano de Mi Abuela
By Tracy Garcia, 7 Tequilas
Ponche is a traditional Mexican hot drink, made in most Hispanic countries. It has been passed down from generation to generation, and I got this holiday recipe from my mom. Ponche is mostly served in October through February, for all festivities.
Some of these ingredients are not easy to find; try your local Latino store for the best outcome. Fresh ingredients always are preferred, but for hard-to-find ingredients like sugar cane sticks, tejocotes and guava, frozen or canned ingredients are just as tasty. Don’t stress yourself out; it will be delicious either way.
• 4 liters distilled water
• 1 large piloncillo cone (also known as penole)
• 3 sugar canes
• 3-4 cinnamon sticks
• 12 tejocotes (stone fruit)
• 12 guavas
• 2 apples
• 2 pears
• ¾ cup of chopped prunes
• ½ cup raisins
• 1 cup hibiscus flowers
Clean produce thoroughly. Chop your apples, pears and prunes. Put fruit to the side. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add piloncillo, cinnamon sticks and sugar canes. Let it boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the piloncillo has dissolved.
Add all fresh or frozen fruit: guavas, apples, tejocotes and pears. If you have canned guavas and/or tejocotes, add them after 20 minutes, or after your fresh fruit has tenderized. Place a lid on your pot, set heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes.
Add raisins, prunes and hibiscus flowers. Simmer on low for 15 minutes, and turn off heat. Remove pot from stove. Let sit for 20 minutes. (If you leave the hibiscus flowers simmering for too long, it will make the punch sour.)
If you prefer your ponche cold, let it sit out for 2 hours so the fruit reaches 70 degrees fahrenheit. Pour into a pitcher with a lid, and refrigerate for 4 hours for the coolest fruit punch.
Note: For a citrus flavor, add 1 large orange, sliced in fourths, and 6 peeled tamarindos when you add fruit to the pot. Serve with fruit in the cup for added flavor and a yummy snack.
7 Tequilas 21-plus Tip: Whether you drink it hot or cold, add a shot of cinnamon rum or tequila to your cup for a delicious cocktail.
Reeves House Pumpkin Spice Syrup
By Woodstock Arts
• 1½ cups dark brown sugar
• 3 cups granulated sugar
• 4½ cups water
• 1 can pumpkin puree
• 12 cinnamon sticks
• 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
• 1½ teaspoons ground cloves
In a large pot, combine dark brown sugar, granulated sugar and water. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin puree, cinnamon sticks, ground ginger and ground cloves. Bring water and sugars to a boil, and stir until the sugars are fully dissolved. Add your bowl of pumpkin and spices to the pot. Stir to combine, and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring constantly, and don’t let it boil! Once the syrup has thickened, turn off the heat, and let it rest on the burner while it cools for 25 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, and transfer to the bottle of your choice.
By Joy Owen
• ½ cup butter, melted
• ¾ cup Parmesan cheese
• ½ teaspoon garlic salt
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 60-80 small mushrooms (about 3 packages)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and remove stems from mushrooms. Reserve ½ cup of stems, finely chopped. Dip caps in melted butter and place on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine Parmesan, mushroom stems, garlic salt and cream cheese. Blend well. Fill the caps with the mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Serves 20-25 people.