Apples, apples I've got so many apples I'm surprised I'm not dreaming about them. Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT complaining! We went apple picking and got a ton of apples and even after making jars and jars and jars and jars and jars and jars of homemade apple sauce I STILL HAVE APPLES! So I made a few apple pies to stick in the freezer, but you guessed it... drum roll I still have apples. So I am using some of my applesauce and the remaining apples to make what has become a family favorite and staple in our house, homemade apple butter.
If you've never had apple butter, don't worry I hadn't either until a few years ago. And don't be fooled by the name there is no butter involved, just smooth delicious apple goodness that cooks down for hours and hours making your house smell incredible and the end result is so good you could slather it on just about anything!
2-50 oz jars unsweetened applesauce (store bought or use my easy no peel/no sugar homemade recipe found here)
10-12 apples peeled and cut into small cubes(Granny Smith are my favorite in this because the tart balances the sweet, but any you have will be great)
4 cups sugar (brown or regular I like to do half and half)
1 1/2 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons all spice
2 teaspoons ground cloves
To make dump all these ingredients into a crockpot, pop on the lid and forget about it for about 24 hours. Most recipes say 8-9 hours, but I've been tweaking this recipe for three years now and I think the longer the better. This recipe fills a large crock pot, if you have a smaller one you may want to do half at a time. Also this is what I like to call "super spiced", I like to add lots of cinnamon, all spice and cloves, but you can start with half the amount and add more towards the end if you are worried it may be too strong. I used to start with less but ALWAYS added more, so now I just dump it all in at the beginning and forget about it.
This is the goodness after about 8 hours, you can still see come chunks of apple but look how much it cooks down! I like to start this in the afternoon/evening and let it cook overnight. Give it a stir once in awhile while you are awake, but go to bed with no worries because you will wake up to a house filled with a sweet smell that beats the pants off of any fancy candle on the market! My humble opinion of course.
After it has cooked about 8 hours (I do overnight) take your crockpot lid and turn it about a quarter turn if you have a large oval shaped one or just move the lid over a bit so the steam can escape and the apple mixture can reduce and thicken up. But at this point reward yourself with a taste or better yet a little scoop of the hot apples over ice cream... it's AMAZING!
By now the chunks of apples have cooked down into this smooth, thick, rich concoction that I think you and your family will love. If your apples started off as bigger pieces you may still have a few chunks (we still really like it that way) but if you prefer the finished product to be super smooth just give it a quick mash.
Eat it right away, which trust me will not be hard, or it will keep in your fridge for several weeks.
We put this on toast, biscuits, sandwiches and even ice cream. I like to water bath can this and give it as gifts. This recipe makes about 6 pints, I usually make two big batches back to back so that I can stock up while I have all the ingredients on hand. It does take some time, but it's easy and inexpensive to make but the end result is a really special gift.
Break out your crockpot and get this started today. Or make it the night before your company arrives for the holidays, they will walk into a house that smells divine and you will be able to share the fruits of your very minimal labor with them.... psss you can leave the "minimal labor" part out... what they don't know won't hurt them and will send some much deserved praise your way!