As a young child, my first word, before "mom," "dad," or even "dog," was "apple." I had a thing for apple juice, or "appie juice," as I called it, and this passion for apples has followed me as I've grown up.
For some, macaroni and cheese or shepherd's pie is considered to be comfort food. Not for me — applesauce is my food fix of choice.
Served alone, still warm, with a garnish of cinnamon, is my favorite way to enjoy this seasonal treat. But, I've served it atop a scoop of vanilla ice cream, garnished with oatmeal cookie crumbs for an impromptu fruit crisp, even layering it in cookie bars and pies — or with a healthy scoop of melted peanut butter.
While I left the skin on for added texture, it isn't required.
10 small apples, such as McIntosh or Cortland, cored and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
In a large saucepan, combine the apple chunks, and cover with a lid. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and give the apples a stir with a spatula, making sure to press down any uncooked chunks towards the bottom. Replace the lid, and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir again, repeating for another 5-10 minutes until the apples begin to break down. Then, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 8-10 minutes more, with the lid on, until all of the apples have broken down.
Add the cherries, cinnamon, and sugar, adding more if necessary. Remove the pan from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes to give the cherries a chance to rehydrate. Serve warm.