I once moved across country to get out of a long term relationship I was having a hard time ending. I was pretty lonely when I got to the other end of the Continent, especially since I had accidentally selected the most married town on earth in the most married county in America to settle in (the statistics bear me out on this — it wasn’t just in my head). A friend I had left behind in California sent me a tea set labeled, “Tea for One.” At the time, it felt like a cruel reminder of my status and I was angry with her. Later, she turned out not to be my friend at all. But that story involves a convertible and is for another time.
Let’s just say that much water has flowed under many bridges since then and I am more appreciative of my own company. Cooking for one no longer has any stigma for me — although this recipe was crafted for my mother. Call me Amish-Survivalist-Little House on the Prairie Girl, but when she both pointed out that I had forgotten to buy apple sauce at the store and asked me throw out a few inferior apples languishing in the fridge, something didn’t add up. Isn’t apple sauce just a bunch of old apples cooked down with sugar? Shouldn’t I just kill two birds with one stone and make some apple sauce?
Nobody else who is living here at the moment likes apple sauce much and my Mom happens to have a jar of something called Maple Sugar which seemed like the perfect complement to old apples. It’s made by a farm in Vermont (you know how I feel about supporting the tiny New England maple farmers!) and maple sugar has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar, so it’s a tiny bit better for you.
This recipe was super tasty and couldn’t be easier. I just boiled apples in a water and maple sugar solution with some cinnamon and a squeeze of tangelo. It took a while, but not as long as a trip to the store.
Maple Apple Sauce
2 or 3 good-sized ripe apples (peeled, cored and sliced into pieces)
1/4 cup apple juice (this is optional)
3/4 cup hot water
Juice of one orange or similar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple sugar (to taste — depending how sweet your apples were and how sweet you like your sauce)
Combine ingredients in a good-sized sauce pan and cook over medium heat until the apples are soft enough to mash. Keep stirring to ensure the fruit doesn’t burn. At the end, after you have mashed the apples, use a blender or food processor if you like your apple sauce super smooth.