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Another snow storm?!  Why we haven’t shoveled thoroughly out from last week’s blizzard. Chase the blues away and Bake Apple Crisp- its sweet scent alone wafting through the house is the perfect remedy for winter doldrums.  My mother, Bette Cowley always knew how to lift our spirits during the long icy winters of upstate New York.  We lived in apple country so luckily we were treated to this often.  She makes the best and this is her recipe which she gave to me when I was a young mother.  It is my go to recipe to celebrate autumn, when the crisp fall air beckons cozy thoughts and heartier foods.  Most importantly I bake it to soothe the soul and ease cabin fever in the dead of winter.  The topping is not one of those often served soggy crisps but is a firm, spicy spread, the perfect contrast to the soft warm apples below.

If you live in apple country buy a half peck of  Northern Spy, an heirloom variety which is my mom’s baking apple of choice.  Otherwise Jonagold or Cortland are fine baking apples.   Apples, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon are all foods used to promote love, peace & happiness- especially important with a house full of winter weary people!

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Cortland apples

Bette Cowley’s Apple Crisp

7-8 apples

1 cup unbleached flour  or use a 1/2 cup of both unbleached and wheat

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 8 oz. stick of butter

Start with 7-8 apples for a 9 inch pan.  Peel, core and slice in chunks, use enough apples to roundly fill the pan.  If you have the time, prepare the Crisp with extra love and care.    Focus and peel the apple in one continuous circle, thinking good thoughts and wishes for each of those you’ll be serving.

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Mound the apples a bit.

Mix together the dry ingredients.  Then add the egg, it will appear lumpy and inconsistent- no worries- that’s the way its supposed to be.  Spread the dry mixture over the apples.  Melt a stick of butter and drizzle all around.  Bake at 350 35-45 minutes, till the majority of the topping is firm to the touch and a nice golden brown.  This recipe can be easily doubled for a larger pan.   Serve warm.  For added pleasure add a dollop of vanilla ice cream on the side- the melted ice cream and toasty apples make a delectable combination for the senses.

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 So when the wind is howling and the winter blues are knocking on your door- lavish your friends and family with Bette Cowley’s Apple Crisp.   They’ll know they are loved.

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Hanging in the kitchen.

Thank you Mom for the countless marvelous meals you’ve made for us all these many years.  I love you too.

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Baby it’s cold outside- so make a cup of steamy hot chocolate  to warm and satisfy the soul!

Enchanted Chocolates' ground 70% cacao chocolate

Enchanted Chocolates’ ground 70% cacao chocolate

It’s fun and so easy to do.  Start with a good quality chocolate bar- a higher cacao will make a richer, more chocolatey flavor.  Finely chop or grate 2-4 ounces (per cup of milk) according to your taste.  Heat milk in a small sauce pan or preferably double boiler till hot – don’t let it boil though.  Add the chocolate and stir with a spoon till smooth.  Try a whisk for a lovely froth.  Pour and enjoy!

Feeling creative?  Hot chocolate blends well with so many flavors, be original and make it your own special potion.

-Scrape out the seeds of a vanilla bean and add .

-Try adding a splash of your favorite liqueur- I love Chambord, Grand Marnier or Ammaretto.

-For added richness mix a small amount of cream with the milk.

-Go Mexican- add ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick- remove stick before serving.

-Add Chinese 5 Spice for a tasty Asian flair.

-Valentine’s Day is coming, make a love spell hot chocolate- add cinnamon and  cardamom with the chocolate- all considered aphrodisiacs.  Your lover will love you for it!

-Add crushed peppermint stick for the perfect snowy day cup of hot chocolate.

-Is Chocolat one of your favorite books?  Make your own magick taking a cue from the beautiful, haunting Vianne Rocher.  Add a cinnamon stick, a seeded hot chili pepper and vanilla bean to the heating milk.  Remove all before serving.

A freshly made batch of Keep It Real Hot Chocolate in the Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker ;)

A freshly made batch of Keep It Real Hot Chocolate in the Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker 😉

Please note- Hot chocolate and hot cocoa are 2 entirely different beverages, although the terms are unfortunately interchanged often.   I much prefer the richness and depth of hot chocolate (made with melted chocolate) versus hot cocoa which is made with sugar and cocoa powder.  In my opinion the author Shirley Jackson put it best when she said  “Cocoa? Cocoa! Damn miserable puny stuff, fit for kittens and unwashed boys. Did Shakespeare drink cocoa?”

If you find yourself making lots of hot chocolate you might want to consider buying a Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker & Milk Frother.  Simply add milk and chocolate, turn it on and in five minutes you’ll have a great frothy cup of deliciousness.  Included is a frothing paddle which I’ve never felt the need to use as am I more than satisfied with the amount of fluffy light froth it creates without the additional paddle.  I use it with our Enchanted Chocolates’ Keep It Real Hot Chocolate regularly, making 2 8 oz. cups at a time- much more and it can splash out near the end of the heating cycle.  Despite this limitation I recommend it for its’ ease of use and cleaning.

Even Pirate Queens love hot chocolate!

Even Pirate Queens love hot chocolate!

This machine is great but if you’re making a seductive love spell  or simply a cup full of love for your family you’ll want to do it the old fashioned way- in the sauce pot with a spoon.  Stir deosil (clockwise) and with each stir focus and impart your love and energy.   Pour and serve with a kiss!

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