OPTIONAL ADD-INS: allspice berries, fresh ginger, nutmeg
INGREDIENTS: apples, oranges, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves
STEP ONE: Wash and thickly peel the fruit, leaving plenty of meat on the rind. Do this over a medium saucepan to catch any drippings. Feed the apples and oranges to the kiddos, or chunk them up into the pot also.STEP TWO: Add 4 cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon or so of cloves, and any optional ingredients to your liking.STEP THREE: add enough water to cover most of the ingredients (too much water dilutes the aroma, but too little risks burning; I often check the pot and add more as the day goes on).
STEP FOUR: bring to a boil, turn down to low, and enjoy a day's worth of deliciousness. I have been known to cheat and turn the same pot on the next morning; it's the gift that keeps on giving.
For a quick Christmas gift, basket up two apples, two oranges, four cinnamon sticks and a sachet of cloves and allspice berries. Print up a nice label with some instructions and spread some Christmas cheer!
(Some other scent-sory indulgences: When the season calls for splurging, my favorites are the Frasier Fir Collection from the Thymes, and the Winter Forest Pure & Green Collection from Williams Sonoma.)