The Ultimate Apple Butter Recipe

The Ultimate Apple ButterOk. Last apple recipe for awhile.  I can’t help it.  They have kinda dominated my kitchen for the last two weeks.  And can I just say check out the serious sunshine in the photo above shining in my screen porch windows and onto my breakfast plate!  I love fall!

So yes, I have been canning, freezing, baking, cooking, roasting, and eating apples.  I confess that I had actually sworn off making apple butter this year.  One, I was on GO mode and apple butter just takes too long to make.  Its not the labor involved, its the waiting!  Secondly, I have made a LOT of apple butter over the years and even though it is all good, none of my versions have ever been ‘the one.’  I like all kinds of apple butter so how do you pick one that tastes the best?  You don’t!  You just wander aimlessly, eating all the apple butter you can find and exclaiming, ‘Oh!  I like this one! ‘ or ‘This one is super yummy too!’ or even ‘This is so good I could bathe in it!’  But none of them really stood out.

Until now.  I realized the error of my ways.  I needed two things.  Rum and vanilla.

Now, I am kinda classic when it comes to apple butter, but when I was elbow deep in the sticky, turn-my-fingernails-brown apple trenches, my friend posted this recipe.  I read the title (Vanilla Rum Apple Butter) rolled my eyes and exclaimed out loud, “FINE!  I’ll make apple butter!  Twist my arm, why dontcha…”  About 5 minutes later, it was in the crock-pot and cooking away.  The only change I made for that batch that was different from her original recipe, was to add some brown sugar (my apples seriously lacked flavor) and mine were peeled because I was using this handy dandy contraption mentioned in the last post.  Other than that, I made them the same, crossing my fingers that the lack of spices you usually see in apple butter wouldn’t be missed.

So…um…yeah.  Not missed at all.  It was so amazingly yummy, a friend of mine said she “…could slather that on my face, its so good.”  Another said she would eat it scraped off the floor if necessary.  While that certainly wasn’t called for (although once I did eat spinach artichoke dip that I had scraped off the oven door…) I was thrilled that they liked it so much.  As I stared at my seemingly never ending pile of apples, I decided to rinse out the crock pot and do it all over again, but this time I would add the spices I so so love in apple butter.

The result??  The Ultimate Apple Butter Recipe!  It is rich and full flavored and balanced and lovely.  I will never make apple butter any other way ever again.  And here it is for you!
Apple Butter I can not really stir it yet, but there it is piled in my crock pot and nestled on the counter amongst empty canning jars, full canning jars, and a very sad looking banana…
Apple Butter Ten hours later and it stirs to mush. Ready to puree!
The Ultimate Apple ButterSmooth like buddah!

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Ultimate Apple Butter
My recipe is inspired by this recipe.  The flavor isn’t as traditional as mine, but it is ah-ma-zing.
Some kinds of apple butter are so spiced they kind of reach up and smack you in the face.  I prefer to actually taste the apples instead of just smearing cinnamon paste on my toast.  If I could thin this down, I would suck it through a straw.

apples, cored, peeled and chunked small about 10 cups-enough to fill a standard 4 quart slow cooker (any NON-tart, soft apple is good for this but use whatever you have)
1/2 c spiced rum
1 c pure, no sugar added, apple cider
1/2 c brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Pile the apples in the slow cooker, adding more if needed to fill it to the top.  Add the rest of the ingredients on top, EXCEPT THE VANILLA!  Stir it a bit if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t.  Set the lid on tightly and turn the pot on low. After an hour or so, stir it if you can as it starts to cook down to distribute all the spices and coat all the fruit in the rum! 🙂  Leave it on low, until the apples get so soft that it breaks up as you stir it, at least 8 hours.  It will depend on what kind of apple you use and the ripeness of the fruit.  When it is mushy, stir in the vanilla and puree using an emersion blender, or transfer to a blender or food processor and puree in batches.  Can it or freeze it and enjoy!