We both made two batches, keeping our first, experimental batches for ourselves in our freezers as we did not can those batches. Using a crock pot, making apple butter is sinfully easy and is bound to become a quasi-regular occurrence in the Douglas house.
~8 lbs. of apples
(I used Jonagold for one batch and Granny Smith for the other - didn't notice much difference, except that the apple corer/peeler/slicer worked much easier/more efficiently on the smaller, harder Grannies)
The amount is unimportant, just fill up your crock pot with cut up peeled apple pieces. When it cooks down after a couple of hours, add some more in if you want so you can get the most butter for your efforts!
~2 cups of sugar
I used all white sugar the first time, but found 2 cups to be a little sweet with the already sweet Jonagolds.
The second time I used mostly brown sugar, with a little white, and the amount seemed fine with the tart Grannies.
~1/4 cup brandy (flavored or plain, whatever)
I used apricot brandy on the first batch and plain on the second, both were fine. This was an improvised ingredient on my part, I just thought it would be nice. It's totally optional.
~1-2 tsp. nutmeg
~1-2 tsp. ground cloves
~1-2 tsp. allspice
I don't use cinnamon, as my husband and daughter are both sensitive to it. I find these three spices to be a very tasty facsimile and I never miss cinnamon. I did these spices to taste. You can always add more after the apple butter has cooked for a long time and is all mushy, so start with a little and add as you see fit.
~1 tsp salt
I also do this "to taste" as I go.
Put everything in a crock pot and cook, covered, on high, for 1 hour. Then set your crock pot to
its low setting and leave it for 12 hours, overnight, whatever ( a long time! ). You can't overcook fruit, apparently! I like to cook it uncovered for a few more hours at the end, just to evaporate some of the liquid; but it does look more liquid-y in the crock when it's warm than after it has set up in a refrigerator, so don't fret! You can put it in freezer safe jars and freeze it, or just put it in your fridge and keep it as long as you would keep any other jam.
It's great on just about everything. My husband eats it on his eggs!
This was also my first experience using my sister's embossing supplies to make cute little labels!
I just used some last night (experimentally) to great success. I made a little pizza on a tortilla and used the butter instead of tomato sauce. It was faboo!
1-2 tbs. apple butter
2-3 slices Havarti cheese
1-2 baby bella mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1-2 tsp. diced, sauteed onion
1/2 slice smoked turkey lunch meat
Lightly crisp the tortilla on a pan just so that it isn't floppy anymore. Spread apple butter over surface. Break up your slices of cheese and your lunch meat into smaller pieces and arrange, along with your mushrooms and onion as you like. Put under a broiler for a few minutes until all the cheese has melted. Enjoy!
New Year's Resolution: To actually have Mondays be my clean house days, instead of just wishing it were the case. Wish me luck/give me reminders! :D*