Remember how last week, I was making applesauce with the 50lbs of apples I picked at the farm? Well, apple sauce isn’t all that I made! We will definitely be covering recipes that require apples for the rest of October. Are you with me?
A natural extension from applesauce is apple butter. Have you ever tried it? My friend Lara brought some over to my house just 4 days before my apple picking adventure. That was my first taste ever of apple butter. It’s sweet and full of apple flavour, like the sauce, but the addition of all the extra spices and the long slow cooking to carmelize some of the sugars gives it a depth and thickness and richness that the sauce doesn’t have. Clearly, I was enthralled. If you’re making applesauce, apple butter is no problem. You can even start with your recently made applesauce if you want to.
The apple butter really is fantastic, but what actually makes the moment is when it tops a flaky, buttery, cheddar cheese biscuit. I did a bit of searching around and found this great recipe from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. To make the biscuits, I doubled this recipe but otherwise followed it exactly, so I won’t type it out here. The biscuits were perfectly cheesy and were so good with the apple butter.
You may have noticed in the photos that my jar of apple butter is more than half-empty (or are you the optimistic type and see it as still about half-full?). I only mention it because, that jar in that photo, was just shy of one week old. Let’s just say that apple butter is a bit of a hit at our house. Here’s the recipe as I made it, an adaptation of many of the recipes available online:
Apple Butter Recipe
10 – 12 apples, preferably a variety, peeled, cored, and quartered. I used (Macintosh, Red Delicious, Honeygold, and Courtland)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
Prepare enough apples to fill your slow cooker and place the apples in the slow cooker. I have a 6 qt pot and used about 12 apples. Pour the 1 cup of apple juice over the apples and cook on high for one hour. Turn the cooking temperature to low and cook for an additional 5 – 7 hours, stirring periodically. Use an immersion blender to develop a sauce if the apples have not yet broken down.
Add the sugar, spices, and vanilla to the pot and continue to cook for an additional 8 hours. I cooked the first step during the afternoon/evening then cooked the second step overnight. The house smelled amazing in the morning. You can store the apple butter in freezer containers in the freezer or do as I did and transfer the butter into 8 oz canning jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner ( I already had all of my canning supplies out for the apple sauce anyway).
As a side note, it turns out that a jar lifter and some empty pop cans provide at least 15 minutes of entertainment for the average pre-schooler.