Recently we made a big batch of apple butter (the same day we made Pumpkin Butter), and per usual, it came out pretty amazing! My kids love it, and it makes a great gift to give at family parties around the autumn holidays! I fill up some canning jars, add a freezer-safe lid, and tie on a pretty ribbon and label (with a recipe printed on the back). It's an easy gift, and everyone loves it!
I honestly don't follow too close to the original recipe for this one. I typically add more cinnamon and vanilla extract, and if an extra apple or four end up in the batch, it doesn't effect the overall taste.
12 Apples or 6 pounds of Apples (Granny Smith, McIntosh, Honey Crisp, Red Delicious, whatever you have on hand - ours were a mix of fresh picked apples from a local orchard)
2/3 cup packed Brown Sugar (or 1 1/2 cups if you omit the honey)
2/3 cup of Honey
1 tablespoon of Ground Cinnamon
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract (optional)
1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Ground Allspice
1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves
And since we add water, we leave 1/2 cup in the pot, rather than adding 1/2 cup of apple juice or apple cider.
One thing we do slightly different is that we add about two cups of water to the batch while it has just apples in it. We let it boil for 15-30 minutes and then I scoop out most of the water. It's better than store bought apple juice, and it's nice and warm! The kids love it!
We always cook our apple butter in a heavy-duty pot, but you can cook it in a 5 or 6 quart slow cooker (8 to 10 hours on low). If you cook it in a pot, you'll want to add all the ingredients and let it come to a boil and then reduce the temperature to low. You'll want to cover the pot and stir it frequently. Once the apples are soft, begin mashing it with a potato masher. Continue cooking it until the mixture is really thick. Stick a knife into it and if it slides off, it isn't thick enough. If you wish, you can let it cool and pour it into a food processor to puree it. After 2+ hours it should be cooked down enough that there aren't many chunks left. Spoon the mixture into containers and store in a fridge for up to 3 weeks.