Sunday, April 27, 2014

Candied Apple Jelly: Toast Topper #45 #SundaySupper

The best things in life are often the simplest. A sunny Summer day out in the backyard, a letter from a penpal and spending time re-living your childhood vicariously through the little ones around you are treasures that don't require fuss and bother to be special, and in fact are cheapened by pomp and circumstance. I am much happier with a good song coming on the radio at the right time than schlepping out to an expensive concert, or watching the kids at school make their crafts rather than staring at canvasses in a gallery. While fancy and complex has it's place in life (I mean, would you really just want a "simple" rocket design or brain surgery?), generally the less stuff you throw in the more honest and familiar it is.

The same thing translates to food. Now, I'm more than guilty of adding 10+ ingredients to a recipe, even if they are only spices, and it's something I do often as a matter of course. I use a multitude of ingredients both for taste and nutrition in my more "decadent" recipes, but I understand at the same time that mom's chocolate chip cookies, a mayo-tomato sandwich or my grandpa's cheesy scrambled eggs are irreplaceable and cannot be gussied up without losing their integrity. For dietary restrictions, sadly, a lot of the simple classics require more items and enhancements to create passable mock-ups, but the goal of a simple, clean flavour never changes.

Candy Apple Jelly

It's simplicity - specifically, 5 ingredients and less - that is behind this week's #SundaySupper roundup. Being one to elaborate on the spartan, this was looking to be a challenge for me until it hit me - look in my mom's recipe box. There are a ton of recipes in that black metal cube that have at least less than 8 ingredients, and considering for today water, salt, pepper, and oil are counted as "freebies" most of her cherished, hand-written cards were fair game.

It so happened that this Sunday corresponded with the end of a jar of homemade jam, which never bodes well with a loaf of fresh bread kicking around the house! Mom's "preserves" section of the box was relatively paltry though, since she was never one to make jam or jelly at home. Of the 4 condiments she had, one caught my eye because it was so unlike my mom yet at the same time totally spoke of her penchant for simple, quick and people-pleasing food. Using candy along with the apple juice, sugar and pectin was a twist I didn't expect (especially since she doesn't like candy at all), but after finding countless versions of this so called "Candy Apple Jelly"online I became convinced that it could work. I have no idea how long the original idea to cook cinnamon hearts in juice before jelling the works has been around, and based on what I had on hand I did have to make some changes (using no-sugar-needed pectin and subsequently less added sugar, not to mention cooking and straining Hot Tamales candy instead of the suspiciously absent-from-the-store cinnamon hearts). Even with my changes, the jelly remained essentially the same flavour-wise - not to mention still under 5 ingredients!

This week's roundup is being hosted by Alice of Hip Foodie Mom. Thanks Alice! Check out what all our other #SundaySupper contributors are sharing below.
Appetizers, Salads and Starters

Side and Accompaniments

Main Dishes

Dessert and Beverages

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Candied Apple Jelly
Makes about 5 half pints, 80 tbsp
4 cups unsweetened apple juice
2/3 cup Hot Tamales candy
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 (1 3/4 ounce) package no-sugar-needed pectin
  1. Bring juice, candies and sugar to a boil in a saucepan and simmer 15 minutes, until candy mostly dissolves. 
  2. Strain out remaining candy and return mixture to pot.
  3. Whisk in pectin, return to a full boil and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes.
  4. Process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 34.3
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 0.8 mg
Total Carbs: 8.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.0 g