It seems like food bloggers everywhere are getting in the mood for fall cooking and baking. Although summer here ended on a chilly note, we’ve since picked up summer-ish weather again. Despite that, I’ve been thinking a whole lot more about stews, but also sweets laced in cinnamon and ginger, lathered in butter and other forms of buttery goodness. As I write this, I have a pumpkin chopped up and roasting in the oven, getting ready to become pumpkin puree for an array of pumpkin-y goodness. In the meantime, I’ll write about this tantalizingly sweet (read: overly sweet), jar of apple butter.
Most recipes call for large roasting pans or slow cookers larger than what I’ve got. I have a small 1 1/2 quart slow cooker and honestly was not ready to commit to making a mini batch production of apple butters my first time round. Instead, I looked around for a recipe that would suit my small cooker. I ended up making some modifications based on what I had and eyeballing the rest of it. I used this recipe and this recipe to start off my attempt.
Finally, before writing up what I did, in my perusing of forums, I found out (for the first time), that all apples are not created equal. McIntoshes (thankfully one of the cheapest apples available at the grocery store), is great for sauces and pies, baking down into a sweet pulp. Granny Smiths are also good baking choices, especially for pies, as they hold their shape, being a firmer apple, and retaining a strong flavor post-baking, thanks to their tart taste. For the record, I have never liked tart apples, but since learning that fact, I have since changed my mind… at least in the sense of baking.
And so, here it is, and although it is most definitely on the sweet side, it is delicious and easy to make… completely done with McIntosh apples.
Makes 1 pint and 2/3 cup.
– 7 small McIntosh apples
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar (next time, I’m going down to 1/4 cup and adding as needed)
– 2 tbsp brown sugar – store bought or homemade
– 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg
– 1/4 tsp allspice
– 1/4 tsp salt
– lemon juice from 1/4 lemon
– 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract (artificial is fine)
1. Peel, core and dice apples. Toss into slow cooker.
2. Mix granulated sugar with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Toss into slow cooker to cover apples.
3. Put the lid on and cook on low for 4 hours.
4. Remove lid, stir mixture to coat apples. Add lemon juice and vanilla.
5. Do a taste test. If needed, add the brown sugar (yay for molasses!). Add more sugar if further sweetening is needed.
6. Cover and carry on cooking on low for another 7 hours.
7. At this point your apple butter should take on a dark brown colour and should have reduced itself by at least a quarter in the pot. Remove lid and allow to continue cooking for another 2 hours to allow apple butter to grow in concentration. (Don’t worry about fruit flies, the heat will keep them away!)
8. Turn off slow cooker, and allow to cool (at this point I went to bed so I just put the lid on and allowed it to cool until morning).
9. Blend and store in a jar!
Edit October 16th, 2014: 6 small apples are enough to fill a pint mason jar. Gala apples are less tart, but have a lighter flavour (whereas the McIntoshes have a stronger flavour). 1 cup of sugar sweetens it just enough. Feel free to add more sugar by the tablespoonful if you like a little extra sweetening 🙂