Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spiced Apple Butter

As many of you know, I am a jam fanatic. I used to have jam on toast, oh, everyday. Then, I discovered apple butter. It is a healthier alternative, but still satisfies my spreadable-sweetness craving (less sugar, more fiber, and all that good stuff). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, it has the texture of a thicker, smoother apple sauce. Use it just like jam -- on toast, crackers, and the like. My morning ritual now consists of toast with a good smear of it with peanut butter. A very satisfying breakfast, and also a great snack!

This post is a little late, seeing as the best time for apples is in the fall. However, I saw some really gorgeous Honey Crisp apples at Central Market the other day (pictured above), so I couldn't resist making it now!

There are many variations of this basic apple butter recipe that you could make. I wanted something that was good for everyday, so I kept the sugar and spices somewhat low. I've indicated in parenthesis what a good maximum amount of sugar/spice would be if you wanted to make the recipe a little more decadent, for say, the holidays, or to give as gifts.

* 3 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
* 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (optional: but, helps break down the apples, and gives it a nice tangy flavor)
* 1/2 cup light brown sugar (up to 2 cups)
* 1 tsp. cinnamon (up to 2 tsp.)
* 1/2 tsp. allspice (up to 1 tsp.)

* Place the apple pieces and vinegar in a large pot (preferably a dutch oven, or something with a heavy bottom).
* Cook on low heat for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
* Add the brown sugar and spices, and continue cooking for at least another 30 minutes, until it's nice and thick.
* At this point, the apple butter will have a rustic look with chunks of apple in it.
* You can jar it this way, or puree it for a smoother texture (I would suggest blending). I used an immersion blender (it's the easiest IMO), but you can also use a food mill, food processor, or regular blender.

* This recipe made about 20 oz. of jam. I would suggest canning some if you don't plan to eat it/give it away within the next couple of weeks. You can also easily double, triple, etc., this recipe if you want to can it for gifts!

Note: I fully intend on doing a canning-how to soon! Feel free to shoot me a message or comment if you have any questions about that process.

Recipe adapted from here.

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