Slow-Cooker Apple Butter
There is nothing better than waking up to a house that smells like warm cinnamon and nutmeg. It just screams "fall!" Lately, there hasn't been any crisp fall air, so I am making up for it by decorating and cooking as many fall recipes as I can manage. Of course this means lots of baked goods, pumpkin everything, and fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
Near my hometown, there was the most amazing family-owned orchard, Baugher's. There were acres of apple trees, pumpkin patches, and fall fest fun. Naturally the produce was seasonal - they had pick-your-own strawberries, cherries, blueberries, apples... you name it, they have it! Going to Baugher's was a tradition. My dad worked at the orchard and restaurant when he was in high school, my sister and I grew up going with family and on field trips, and we still go and take the kiddos. It's a great family-friendly environment with hayrides, pony rides, a playground, and plenty of yummy finds. Plus, their mulled apple cider is the best around.
Anyway, because of this, I automatically associate fall with apples. Apple pie, apple crisp, applesauce, and of course, apple butter. It's the perfect alternative to jam or jelly on breakfast carbs - pancakes, english muffins, and my favorite, warm chocolate chip brioche.
PSA: Aldi has amazing chocolate chip brioche. Definitely one of their top 5 foods you shouldn't miss out on.
In our house, fall is when we winterize the grill and dust off the crock pot. It's easily one of my favorite kitchen tools because it is so versatile and easy. So easy. I should make more freezer crock pot meals, but crock pot meals usually end up being stuff I have around the house like chicken, potatoes, and veggies. There's nothing better than coming home after work or a long day and knowing that dinner is ready, waiting for you.
This apple butter is so easy to throw together in the evening before heading to bed. It cooks for 8 hours on low, meaning, when you wake up, you have nice warm apple butter. We like to use honeycrisp apples for this recipe because we like the tart-sweet flavor, but use whatever apples are your favorite, or try a few different varietals for a nice blend of flavor.
2lb Honeycrisp apples, sliced
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1. Peel, core, and slice apples. Place in crockpot.
2. Over the apples, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Stir to evenly coat the apples.
3. Cook on low for 8 hours. After cooking, pour apple mixture into food processor (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. It will thicken after cooling. Or slather generously on warm brioche right away!
This recipe makes a good amount of apple butter. I use a large mason jar to store the apple butter in the refrigerator. It doesn't last long in our house because we all love it. It's a relatively healthy fall spread for breakfast and snack. If you make a large batch, it freezes well and makes great gifts for teachers and friends.
Truly one of the easiest recipes to make for fall.