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6 Creatively Delicious Uses for Apple Cider

'Tis the season for apple cider. This rich, distinctive beverage is a perfect way to warm both body and soul during chilly fall and winter days. But if you think apple cider is just for drinking, you're missing out...

'Tis the season for apple cider. This rich, distinctive beverage is a perfect way to warm both body and soul during chilly fall and winter days. But if you think apple cider is just for drinking, you're missing out on some wonderful ways to enjoy this sweet, seasonal treat. Let's count down six recipes which think outside the carton to incorporate festive apple cider flavor into some of your soon-to-be-favorite foods.

Apple cider
Not just for sipping.

1. Cider Syrup

While maple may garner the syrup spotlight, apple cider syrup is an equally delicious treat. Simply boil a mixture of apple cider, light brown sugar, unsalted butter and cider vinegar and voila: the perfect complement to everything from waffles to French toast.

Our pick for the quintessential perfect pairing? Martha Stewart's sumptuous pumpkin pancakes.

2. Apple Cider Donuts

Perhaps the end-all be-all of donut deliciousness is the apple cider donut. This New York Times recipe starts with a cup of apple cider and builds in all of the spices you expect from this perennial fall favorite.

One tip? An electric mixer makes short work of blending ingredients. In just 40 minutes, you'll have melt-in-your-mouth, homemade donuts.

We can't think of a better reason to invest in a deep fryer.

3. Brie and Cheddar Apple Beer Soup with Cinnamon Pecan Oat Crumble

While this is no four-ingredient recipe, it's also not nearly as laborious as its name suggests. But even if it was, it'd be well worth it. Hearty but not heavy, and packed with healthy ingredients like oats, pecans, and everyone's favorite, Honeycrisp apples, this one's a guaranteed people pleaser and perfect for a warming lunch or light dinner on a cool winter's day.

4. Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

While this Cooking Light recipe sounds and tastes decadent, it's actually surprisingly healthy. The best part? This meal-in-minutes is not only easy to make, by most items can be plucked straight from the pantry or fridge making it the perfect dinner for drop-in guests or the impromptu dinner party.

5. Apple Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread With Apple Cider Glaze

We dare you to look at the pictures and not want to dig right in. While many home chefs are hesitant about baking with yeast, this Lovely Little Kitchen recipe provides a simple, step-by-step primer that removes the mystery from the equation. We declare this to be the perfect Christmas morning meal -- or indulgent treat any other day of the year.

Apple cider
Delightful dippers.

6. Apple Cider Caramels

These miniature masterpieces deliver all of the tart-sweet flavor of apple pie in one perfect bite. Which the candy making process takes some time and attention, the ingredient list is surprisingly short. These goodies keep for up to two weeks and make the perfect holiday food gift...or treat to keep all of yourself.

The secret weapon for cutting these soft, gooey caramels into perfect squares? A pizza wheel.

From apple cider vinaigrette to apple cider braised pork, there are near-endless sweet and savory ways to cook with apple cider. To get started on your own apple cider cooking adventures, browse Cilantro The Cooks Shop selection of cookware, bakeware and ovenware today.