There is something about this time of year that just makes me crave apple everything. Apple Pie, Apple Cider, Apple Turn-Overs, or a crisp granny smith apple. One thing I’ve always wanted to try making is homemade apple butter. Then a couple of weeks ago a video recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker popped up on my Facebook Page for Slow Cooker Apple Butter. Now you know I RARELY use the Slow Cooker because we just don’t get along, but I was willing to put things aside and give this recipe a whirl.
So this past weekend I climbed to the top of the pantry pulled, out the Slow Cooker, and made Apple Butter. Now don’t get me wrong this isn’t a FAST recipe but it’s a very EASY recipe. All in all it will take about 12-13 hours depending on how thick you want your apple butter and how quickly you can peel, core, and slice 6-1/2 pounds of apples. But think of it this way that’s 12-13 hours that your house will smell absolutely INCREDIBLE!!
Here’s what I did….
Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker
6-1/2 Pounds Apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced*
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg (freshly grated if you’ve got it)
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Vanilla Bean, split in half lengthwise
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest (about 1 lemon)
*For the apples I used (3 pounds) granny smith, (2-1/2 pounds) Honey crisp, and (2 pounds) Fiji apples.
Toss the apples in the slow cooker with all the sugar and spices. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Then add in the vanilla bean, lemon zest, and give everything a good stir. Cover and continue to cook for 7 hours. After 7 hours, remove the vanilla bean and scrap out any remaining seeds. Pureé until smooth (an immersion blender works great for this). Once puréed continue to cook on low uncovered for another 2 hours. The apple butter can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or stored in the freezer.
Now that you’ve got all that DELICIOUS Apple Butter what are you going to do with it? Of course you can give it to your friends as a gift. Or serve it up on a Ritz cracker and I swear it tastes just like Homemade Apple Pie. You can never go wrong with a dollop of Apple Butter on a hot buttermilk biscuit. Or you could stir it into you morning oatmeal. Or even better…. If you just happen to have an extra ball of pizza dough in the fridge you could make a tasty Apple Butter Pull Apart Bread… with pecans of course 😉
Apple Butter Pull Apart Bread
1 ball of Pizza Dough (homemade (makes 2 dough balls) or store-bought)
2/3 cup Apple Butter
1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
1 Cup chopped Pecans
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Butter, melted
Apple Butter Icing
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons Apple Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Melted Butter
2 Tablespoons Water
Place the pizza dough in a bowl, in a warm location, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 – 1-1/2 hours. With a little butter grease the inside of a 8 x 4 loaf pan. In a small bowl whisk together the 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and the apple butter. Then on a well floured surface roll the pizza dough out to about a 16 x 8 rectangle. Brush the pizza dough with the 2 tablespoons melted butter, then spread on the apple butter in an even layer. Sprinkle on the pecans, brown sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut the dough into fairly even pieces about 3×3 square (they don’t have to be prefect) then stack up all the dough pieces into the loaf pan. Making sure the end pieces are dough side out. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the bread to rise for 1 hour. Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown. (Be sure to place a sheet pan underneath the loaf pan just in case of over flow.)
Meanwhile make the Apple Butter Icing. In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar 2 Tablespoons Apple Butter, Vanilla Extract, Melted Butter and 1 Tablespoon of Water (adding extra water as needed). Remove the cooled pull apart bread from the pan and drizzle on the Apple Butter Drizzle.