Gigi’s Spicy Cinnamon Apple Sauce

By Adison McIntosh

When I think of family recipes, I think of recipes that express my family’s traditions and culture. There are many recipes in our family that represent us wholeheartedly: BBQ chicken pizza, garlic bacon pasta, and my mom’s classic puff-pastry “chicken things”. However, there is one special family recipe that shows how food brings together the past and present generations: Gigi’s Spicy Cinnamon Apple Sauce.

My Great Grandma Jean (or Gigi, as our family called her) was born and raised in the small town of Heely, Kansas. Her mid-west, farm town values were passed down through many generations, along with her distinct cooking style and recipes. Gigi began to have her family right after the Great Depression. This time of economic hardship time greatly influenced her cooking style and the many unconventional ingredients she used to cook her family meals. As this recipe will show you though, unconventional ingredients can make for some perfect recipes. Gigi was eccentric in personality, loving with her family, and had a fondness for life unseen anywhere else.

Sadly, I was never able to fully experience Gigi’s unique personality and life’s journey as she passed away when I was young. My mom was able to learn many life lessons from Gigi, as well as her unique recipes. My mom shared Gigi’s life lessons and life journey to me through the letters, pictures, and recipes passed down to her from Gigi. One recipe of those recipes was the Spicy Cinnamon Apple Sauce recipe. My mom and I would make this apple sauce every year during the Fall to enjoy the refreshing taste of the apples paired with the spicy kick of hot cinnamon candies. My mom would share stories of Gigi and our family each time we made the apple sauce together. I got to learn about the small farm town they grew up in, their family stories, and the countless lessons my mom learned from Gigi that helped her get through life’s most trying times. Passing down these stories and experiences through cooking food together is what makes cooking with family so special. We can experience the love and timeless journeys of past generations through storytelling and sharing of their experiences in the kitchen with the ones we love.



Gigi’s Spicy Cinnamon Apple Sauce Recipe:


Cook/prep time:

  • 5 minutes of preparation time
  • 0 minutes of cook/baking time



  • 3 servings (one cup per serving)



  • 5 Red Delicious Red Apples
  • 2 Tbs of Red Hots (or Hot Tamales)
  • ¼ cup Pineapple Juice



  1. Stem and core all five apples
  2. Put all ingredients into a food processer
  3. Pulse until Red Hots are blended and no longer in big pieces
  4. Serve cold with Peta Chips or eat plain
  5. Enjoy!
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