On Sunday, we had a birthday party for Catt at my house. She brought some homemade bread (yum!), so I pulled out some of my apple butter to go with it. It was well-received, so I decided that when I made another batch this week I would actually write down the recipe to share with people. It's super easy, but the peeling and chopping is time consuming.
It's not an exact science, and the ingredients can be varied according to what you have on hand or your personal preferences, but here's what I did:
5-6 pounds apples (enough to fill the crockpot within an inch of the lid. I used about half Ambrosias and half McIntoshes. I think it's always a good idea to use more than one type, but experiment with whatever you have on hand.)
3-4 T maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like things)
3-4 t cinnamon
dash salt, cloves, nutmeg (again, vary the spices as you wish)
1. Peel & chop apples. The past few times I have just roughly chopped after peeling, but this time I tossed them in the food processor. I think the finer dice may have sped up the cooking process. Toss the chopped apples in the crockpot.
2. Stir in syrup & seasonings.
3. Put crockpot on high heat for the longest time you can, and stir occasionally. Mine maxes out at 6 hours on high, so I had to go back and turn it back to high for a total cooking time of about 8-9 hours. You'll know it's done when it has all turned a lovely dark brown caramel color and the apples are basically melted. Last time, I actually left it on overnight. The crockpot reverted to the "keep warm" mode at some point, and I woke up to some really caramelized--but delicious apple butter. Oh, it should be noted that your house will smell insanely delicious for this entire time.
4. Remove the lid on the crockpot and allow any excess liquid to cook out (maybe 30 minutes more on high)
(Note how much it has reduced in volume!)
5. You can either leave it as is, or use an immersion blender to smooth it out.
6. Package it for immediate use (tupperware in the fridge) or can it and process in boiling water about 10 minutes for long term storage.
Yield: varies by how much you allow it to cook down, but I usually get 2-3 500 mL jars. Yup, 5-6 pounds of apples reduces A LOT!
Usage: well, straight up is pretty good. On bread/toast, of course. But I also like it a lot on oatmeal or mixed in with some plain yogurt. Really, what doesn't taste good with maple and apple?