Apples have been of the highest quality round these parts this year and I have been trying my best to take advantage of that. I've frozen homemade applesauce and cut apples--a bushel's worth. Now I've moved onto making apple butter. As much as I like to can, it's odd that I had never before made this delightful treat. My husbands mom seems to have made "the best", but sadly her recipe seems to have died along with her. My grandmother's recipe just doesn't float my boat, so I began to look elsewhere. I finally decided to try making a crockpot butter because it is sooo darn easy. Let's face it y'all, if we can come up with an easy way that tastes pretty good, we have to go for it! Who has time to slow cook apple butter on the stovetop for hours? Not I! I searched until I came up with the following recipe:
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2-50 oz jars of unsweetened applesauce
4 cups sugar
3 lbs of peeled diced apples
Simply combine all and cook on low for 12 hours.
I tried this recipe to the letter the first time. I typically do unless I see a glaring problem...I like to give the original recipe a chance. Well, this one was grody. It was waaayyy too spicy for my families liking and too sweet. The color did turn our to be a rich, dark brown and it could'nt have been easier, but it just wasn't perfect. Seriously, why use wonderful apples if you can't even taste them over the spices?
So, I made another batch. This one is muuuuch better. Again, if you like your apple butter full of spices, you might love the first recipe. To each his own.
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2-50 oz jars of unsweetened apple sauce
4 lbs of Golden Delicious apples
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
The apple cider has so much more flavor and is worth the effort if you can find it. Most people have no issues this time of year, but I must admit my little hokey grocery store didn't have anything other than apple juice :( Sigh.....I also want to note that Golden Delicious apples are naturally sweeter than say a macintosh or a granny smith. Either of which would be excellent choices, just make sure to adjust your sugar accordingly. It was a matter of personal taste that I added brown sugar. I just love the flavor it imparts...adds such depth and richness so I considered it to be a win-win. I actually cooked this for about 13 hours. You may also notice extra liquid...in other words, the butter looks like runny you know what!!! Just leave the lid off for an hour or two with the crockpot on low and the extra water will evaporate.
I encourage everyone to try this one...you need not have any experience in the kitchen to conquer this one! If, the butter isn't canned properly, it must be frozen or used with three weeks of refrigeration. I haven't taken the time to actually figure up the caloric content of a serving, but I can tell you it's a pretty guilt free indulgence :) Have I mentioned the smell? My house smelled like heaven while this was cooking!