Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crock Pot Apple Butter

The weather is beginning to turn a little bit cooler here in western PA.  School begins in less than two weeks, and with the chillier temperatures, I'm feeling ready for Autumn!

A gentleman from my church gave us a huge bag of home grown apples on Sunday, so along with the cooler temperatures, I immediately began thinking of my favorite fall treats made with apples.  Sunday afternoon my 11 year old daughter and I peeled and chopped 12 cups of apples and made chunky applesauce in our crock pot.  Oh wow, was it awesome.  I served it with a dollop of whipped cream on top and we all thought it tasted like an apple pie minus the crust.  It was excellent served hot, but we also enjoyed the leftovers served cold.  Sadly, it's gone now, and I didn't get a picture.  I'll share the recipe below in case you want to try!

After the applesauce making, I still had a half of a grocery bag filled with apples, so I made Crock Pot Apple Butter.  I combined and tweeked several different recipes found in my Fix It And Forget It cookbook.   The entire recipe takes well over 12 hours, so I began the recipe last night after dinner, and finished it this morning.  The apple butter magic happened overnight while I was sleeping.  :)

Have you ever had apple butter?  It's like apple jam, really.  Fresh apples are cooked down slowly with spices and the result is a thick, spicy jam, perfect for buttermilk biscuits slathered with butter.  Mmmmmm!  One bite and I'm instantly reminded of the Apple Festival we visited every fall when we lived in Virginia.

Get yourself a bushel of apples this fall and try making homemade applesauce and apple butter!   If you have leftover apples, try your hand at apple pie, apple muffins, apple strudel, apple cake......gosh, I love apple desserts. 

Crock Pot Apple Butter
(adapted from several recipes found in Fix It And Forget It)

4 pounds tart apples
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt

Peel, core, and chop apples.  Place in crock pot.  Sprinkle sugar and spices over apples and stir with a long-handled spoon.  Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 8 hours.  Remove the lid and stir apples, which should be cooked down by half, and a rich dark brown color.  Increase temperature to high and cook for another 1-2 hours.  Stir until smooth.  (I used my hand held blender to make the apple butter ultra smooth.)  Pour into sterilized jars and seal, or into freezer containers and freeze.  Yield:  2 pints apple butter. 

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for larger quantities.  Cooking time may need to be adjusted.

Spiced Crock Pot Applesauce
(recipe by Judi Manos, found in Fix It And Forget It)

12 cups pared, cored, thinly sliced, cooking apples
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (I used 1 teaspoon)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
freshly grated nutmeg, optional (I added 1/4 teaspoon dry nutmeg)

Place apples in slow cooker.  Combine sugar and spices.  Mix with apples.  Stir in water and lemon juice.  Cover.  Cook on low 5 to 7 hours, or on high 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours.  Stir for a chunky sauce.  Serve hot or cold.

We had "breakfast for supper" tonight and enjoyed our apple butter with buttermilk biscuits, fresh berries, fried eggs, and crispy bacon.  SO good!  Comfort food at it's finest. 


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