I've heard rumors that during the fall, some folks like to go pick their own apples. I wish I was one of those people - but I never got around to it this fall and I fell victim to the grocery store fruit in their perfectly stacked, shiny glory. I mean, I'm not proud of it, but when fall is on its way out and you're standing in the produce aisle looking at a stack of rosy-yellow honeycrisps, you have to give yourself a little grace.
The problem comes when those same apples sit on your counter for a few days and you realize you don't have any plans for them and they're a little bumped and bruised from the trip home. It's okay, there's applesauce for that.
Now I normally add applesauce to the Baby Food category - I am not a picky eater, but I am especially choosy when it comes to textures. Anything that doesn't require any chewy at all usually makes me suspicious, that and cold cocktail shrimp. Disgusting. Anything that bounces when you drop it should not be food.
But I was looking at the big picture for this applesauce - cakes, muffins, spiked with cinnamon for breakfast. Certainly there is a place and a time for it, I'm not the type of baker who eagerly swaps out oil for applesauce in hopes of lowering the calorie content, but once frozen, applesauce maintains its baking integrity and applesauce - I won't let you down.
This recipe has no added sugar which is perfect for honeycrisp apples because heck - they already taste like honey. What it does have is a few slips of lemon peel that wiggle their way into the sauce without being too loud, and a couple of sticks of cinnamon that scent it ever so slightly - a few spoonfuls and you'll forget you spent the entire glorious season hunched over your textbooks.
One quick note : don't blend the sauce too long in the processor as I did. The sauce was sort of, je ne sais pas...fluffy. You want to blend it until it's smooth, but not so much that you're whipping it. Also, you can use whatever type of apple you like, but if you choose a more tart variety like Granny Smith, you'll likely need to add sugar to taste.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
4 pounds honeycrisp apples, peeled and cored
4 strips of lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup water
Peel, core and chop your apples into large chunks, about 8 pieces per apple. Put all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce it to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, or until apples are quite soft. Remove the the lemon peels (make sure you get them all, once cooked, they are the same color as the apples and easily missed) and the cinnamon sticks if you used them.
Allow the apples to cool completely before blending. I spilled them out onto a cookie sheet and set them on the back porch in the chilly air for about 15 minutes and they were good to go.
Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth.