Friday, November 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

These fall days have my mind going crazy with ideas.  The biggest question might be "why on earth does someone who loves autumn so much live in Houston?" and trust me, I ask myself the same thing all the time.  However since we just finished building our beautiful new home, I think we are going to be here for a while so I just have to continue bring fall into my home, even if fall doesn't really exist outside.  Mind over matter!

When I was little we went apple picking every fall.  Did I mention that I didn't grow up in this crazy autumnless state?  I grew up in St. Louis, a place that actually has FOUR SEASONS.  Crazy, I know.  Ah, I digress.  You cannot go apple picking in Houston, so I have been buying up all sorts of apples in the grocery store to create autumn at home.  And with numerous bags of apples on my counter, I decided to make apple butter, something my mom used to do when we were kids.  I have no idea what recipe she used, but the one I found turned out pretty darned tasty, I must say.  I found it at My Baking Addiction, and it is yummo!  You can probably use any mixture of apples for apple butter, but I recommend a mix of sweet and tart apples to get a more rounded flavor.  I used Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp and Jonathan. 

For reasons that can only be contributed to temporary insanity, I did not get out my apple peeler/corer/slicer gadget for this undertaking and instead used my trusty paring knife.  For 6 1/2 pounds of apples.  Yes, 6 1/2 pounds.  Why did I do that?  Who knows.  Regardless, it is totally doable if you do not have an apple peeler gadget, but if you do have one, by all means drag that bad boy out and put it to use!    Good gracious.

Oh, and lets talk about sugar.  The amounts in this recipe are only a suggestion.  I used less, as I tend to like less sugar in things and I did use some sweeter apples.  The recipe calls for 1 cup each of granulated and of brown sugar.  I used 3/4 cup each and could probably have used a bit less, for my tastes anyway.  Do an amount that makes you happy!

You have to have some patience for this apple butter. It cooks in the slow cooker for about forever.  But it is WORTH IT.  And I did sort of speed up the process a little bit.  You are supposed to cook th apples on low for 10 hours, but by the time I finished peeling and coring and slicing all those apples (see, crazy over here) had I waited for 10 hours, it would have been done in the middle of the night.  So, I cooked it for 4 hours on high and then 3 more hours on low.  After the 10 hours you are supposed to have a thick, dark brown mixture and that is what I had!  Then you add some vanilla and let it cook for another 2 hours.  Yes, patience is much needed here!  Trust me, you will be rewarded in the end.  You'll have lots of delicious apple butter that you can freeze/gift/eat.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
adapted from My Baking Addiction
yield - 4 pints

6 1/2 pounds apples - peeled, cored, sliced
1 cup granulated sugar (or amount to your taste)
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (or amount to your taste)
1 TB ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 TB pure vanilla extract

Place the apples in the slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugars, spices and salt.  Pour the mixture over the apples and mix well.  Cook in the slow cooker on low for 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and is dark brown.  Play with the time here - I cooked it on high for 4 hours and low for 3...  Other combinations probably work too, you just need it to be thick and brown at the end!

Uncover the slow cooker and stir in the vanilla extract.  Continue to cook on low, uncovered, for an additional 2 hours.

Puree the apples with an immersion blender until smooth.  Spoon into sterile containers, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze.
Printable Recipe

If you have never had apple butter, either come on over and try some or get out your slow cooker and make some anyway.  It is sort of like a creamier kind of applesauce.  Put it on toast, on a peanut butter sandwich, cook it with a pork tenderloin, spoon it over vanilla ice cream... the uses are endless.  I guarantee you will be sad when it is all gone!  Yum.  It is so good!

1 comment:

  1. Looks yummy! I may have to make some again. My recipe did not use fresh nutmeg. Little G


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