I've been trying to involve Elliot in more of the day-to-day care and feeding of our family in order to fill these long summer days. At our house, like others, it appears summer's honeymoon phase is over, and we're trying to stay cool and occupied, for everyone's sanity. One activity we've been enjoying is using our apple peeler, slicer and corer. Yes, this old school item does all three tedious tasks in the blink of an eye, and is even relatively safe for a three year old. (mine was purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond and also works for potatoes)
Yesterday morning Elliot arose at 6AM, so after a quick breakfast we made some apple sauce. We made two batches, one with sugar and one without. In my opinion, the no sugar batch was delicious, but a certain three year old only offered his Daddy the one with sugar, (even though he never tasted the no sugar batch), because clearly the one with sugar was better.
When you read most apple sauce recipes, they have many ingredients, and always include cinnamon. Mine is made with just three things- tart apples, sugar (if desired) and vanilla bean. I know that vanilla seems like an odd ingredient, and no cinnamon seems downright crazy, but trust me, the vanilla rounds out the bright clean flavors of the apples, and doesn't muddy it up like cinnamon. If you're a die-hard cinnamon fan, you could sprinkle a little on top. This would also be good with some granola, or even vanilla bean ice cream.
Vanilla Bean Apple Sauce
6 Granny Smith Apples
1/4 C. or less of sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
Peel, core and slice apples. Cut open vanilla bean and scrape seeds out. Add beans and pod to apples. Sprinkle sugar over the top and stir mixture. Place in a pan covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for more or less an hour, depending on how chunky you like your applesauce. You can also use a rice cooker on the slow cook setting (that's what we do) or even a slow cooker. All you need is the moist heat. This is good warm, but even better really cold.
So that will entertain the kids for 15 minutes. Only 15 hours and 45 minutes until bedtime.
Update: I was just thinking about this while I put Lucie to sleep, and realized that I had only cooked very large batches in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour, and that for only 6 apples, I think 300 degrees for an hour would be better, so I changed the recipe above.