A few weeks ago when Kacey and I went to the apple farm we bought a peck of apples to make, well, something. I've never made apple butter before so I thought, why not? Let's try that. However, this isn't your typical apple butter. I didn't add as much sugar as most recipes called for because I didn't want it too sweet. The cherry cider and hint of vanilla add a new layer without all the extra sugar. (By the way, I didn't realize until I made this that there wasn't any butter in apple butter. Who knew?) This is made in a crock pot, which made everything so much easier.
1 peck apples - I used Cortland
1 cup cherry cider
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon all spice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Peel, core, and quarter the apples. This is probably the hardest part of the whole ordeal. Dump the apples into the crock pot with the apple cider and the vanilla and set on low for 6 hours. Give it a few stirs now and then. If you can't fit all the apples into the pot, wait until it cooks down a bit and add the rest. See? Super easy so far.
After 6 hours, add the white and brown sugar as well as the spices and stir well. Supposedly it will cook down to a smooth mixture, but I gave it some help with a handheld mixer. Let it sit for another 5-6 hours. What did I tell you? Still easy.
I'm not going to go into all the details about canning, that's enough for a whole other post. Instead, here's a good set of instructions for hot water bath canning. If the apple butter is canned and properly processed in boiling water, it'll last for months. If you don't want to go through the whole canning process, put them into clean jars and either freeze them or put them in the refrigerator and use them within two weeks. It's amazing on pretty much everything and tastes like a velvety smooth spiced apple sauce. Definitely a new favorite!