I know Fall is truly here when we have jars of apple butter in the fridge and a constant stash of graham crackers. Cinnamon teddy graham + apple butter = HAPPINESS…. Please don’t mind me while I bliss off into my happy sweater & boots, blankets & breezes, leaves & color, apples & pumpkin & cinnamon state of mind. Oh and this bowl of vanilla bean ice cream with warmed apple butter. I am literally digging into this bowl of heaven as I write this post. Ah, the sacrifices I must make to bring you delicious recipes. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Oh! And I haven’t mentioned the very best part of this easy apple butter recipe! Remember when we made this no-sugar-added applesauce? Well, you’ll have loads of apple peel and apple core leftover. DON’T YOU DARE THROW THAT IN THE TRASH. Those curly peels and ugly brown cores with seeds everywhere… that would be your apple butter you’re lookin’ at!! Of course you can make apple butter from the whole apple, but this is a fantastic way to put all those scraps to good use. You can drop everything into the crock-pot–even the seeds–since you’ll be straining it later. Just pack down the peels, cores, and any other odd bits and add the apple juice. I always use a good quality apple juice–Simply makes David’s and my favorite.
You’ll be able to tell when the scraps are ready for smushing, because they will be soft and easily smushed. After about 4 hours in the crock-pot, I started stirring the scraps and pressing a core with the back of my spoon. If you notice that is smushes when you push on it, the scraps are probably ready.
We use a fine mesh sieve. (For example, the holes are small enough to catch the apple seeds.) Spoon out a quarter of the scraps into the sieve. Use the back of a large metal spoon and start pushing the apple scraps into a mush, in order to push any broken down apple through the sieve. To give you an idea, I smush with a lot of strength and our sieve is now a little weak and flimsy after at least a couple years of apple butter-making. The apple goop may collect on the underside of the sieve. Use the spoon to scrape the goop off into the bowl. Continue spooning the rest of the scraps into the sieve in batches, trying to collect as much apple goop as you can.
The recipe below is based on two cups of apple goop base. So you’ll need to adjust the amount of spices, accordingly, if you have more or less apple goop. Remember that you can always adjust the spices, if you prefer a more spiced or less spiced apple butter. As you cook the apple butter over medium low heat, time is your friend. Continue to cook and stir, as long as you have patience. You want to cook until the butter begins to “sheet” off the spoon. You will understand this term when you see it. When you lift a spoon of the butter up and tip it back into the pan, “sheeting” means it will slide off in thin sheets–the stuff coming off the spoon hangs onto what is left on the spoon. Trust me – you’ll see it.
Apple butter can be used in oh-so-many things! Not going to lie . . . David’s and my favorite is just opening a jar in the middle of the table and dipping cinnamon teddy grahams in it. 🙂 Graham crackers will work just as well but um . . . us children prefer our teddy bears. I’ve also been known to throw it in oatmeal, on toast, on ice cream, on cheese, and more.
What is your favorite Fall recipe?