For those long-time readers that remember my obsession with pumpkin butter last year, it will probably come as no surprise that I have developed a new fondness over apple butter.
But not just any apple butter.
Cinnamon apple butter that is sweetened only with the help of natural sweeteners like pure maple syrup and honey. I’m not sure how much of a difference there is between natural sweeteners and granulated sugar, but regardless, I always feel better when I can avoid the white stuff.
Remember all those apples I picked with Mister E?
Apple butter was the perfect way to use the majority of them up without having to worry about any going to waste. And perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it is a set-it-and-forget-it kind. The most time consuming part of this recipe is peeling the apples. Once the apples are peeled, there’s not much left for you to do.
Cinnamon Apple Butter
- 7 medium sized apples (any variety will do)
- 1/3 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Directions: Peel and dice apples in 1/2” pieces. Place apples and all other ingredients in a crockpot set to low. Using a spoon, toss to coat apples evenly. Cover and allow to cook for five hours. Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Enjoy!
Don’t worry, it won’t take you the entire five hours that your apple butter is cooking to clean everything up!
Spread the apple butter on anything from toast and biscuits or try stirring a spoonful into your morning oatmeal or yogurt. You really can’t go wrong here. Oh, and it’s my personal recommendation that you pair the apple butter with cream cheese on toast (preferably something nutty like this bread).
Feeling a little generous? Why not give some apple butter to your Thanksgiving Day host/hostess this year? A jar of apple butter along with a basket of biscuits, scones, or muffins would be such an easy gift to prepare and would come off as so thoughtful on your part to give a homemade gift.
The only thing is, you should really can your apple butter if giving it out as gifts. Not sure how to can something? Don’t worry, I didn’t know either three days ago. As it turns out, it’s actually pretty simple and you really don’t have to worry about breaking jars (which was my irrational fear before trying).
Before you start, you’ll need to acquire the proper canning jars. Ball and Kerr are the two most popular brand of jars and can usually be found in your local supermarket’s baking aisle. I picked up these super cute mini 8-oz. jars from Target, but you can use any size you like.
To begin canning, put a large pot of water over high heat. (If you don’t have a large part, it’s ok. You just might have to do each jar individually instead of all together.) Gently place the glass jars and circular, metal lids into the pot of water. Allow the jars and lids to sit in the simmering water. Using tongs, remove the jars and lids from the water before it starts to boil. This step helps slowly warm the jars up so there are no sudden changes in temperatures which could lead to the jars cracking and breaking.
Place the jars and lids on a towel and gently pat dry. Fill the jars with the apple butter leaving about a 1/4” of space at the top.
Place the metal lid on top of the jar, being careful to line the edges up. Place the outer ring on top of the lid and screw tight.
By this point, the water in the pot should be boiling. Using tongs, carefully transfer the jars back into the pot of water.
Most directions I read said that I shouldn’t place the jars directly on the bottom of the pot and should being using a rack. Since I didn’t have a rack, I took my chances and placed the jar directly on the bottom of the pot which seemed to work just fine.
The jar should be fully emerged in the water and should have at least an inch of water covering the lid. Allow the jar to sit in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, carefully transfer the jar back onto the towel using the tongs to handle the hot jar. Pat dry and allow to cool (may take up to 24 hours). You will know that your canning adventures were successful if after the jar is cooled, the middle of the lid won’t flex up or down. If you are able to press down the middle of the lid, your jar did not properly seal.
Either write the jar’s contents or a cute message to the recipient of your gift on top of the lid using permanent marker. Finally, tie a ribbon around the outside of the jar and your gift is ready for giving!
Are any of you guys out there experienced canners? If there was a showdown, which would win – apple butter or pumpkin butter?