Sunday, December 18, 2011

Here We Go, Apple Butter.

That first entry of your journal, blank slate, crisp and clean. My hand would always doubt itself before bringing ink to that first page - cursive or print? big and bubbly or small, slanted letters? Oh, who cares? No one's even going to read this thing. Ever. And besides, you know it'll turn into your grocery list notebook or a doodle pad for one of the kiddos before the year is over... black or pink pen? So, now that I've shared that bit of useless honesty, I can say I feel more at ease with my first blog entry here, at Hello Lilypops. No pen needed = no shaky hand.

This fall kicked off a crazy creative kick in me. First, the hot summer air made way for crisp, fall weather which lent to much more time baking. By the way, by much more, I mean an average of one new fall recipe every other week. The motivation is there, the time isn't. Being in Wisconsin, we have the awesome priviledge of apple picking in the fall. We didn't get around to it this year, but we did load up on bagged apples from the orchard when they were on sale, buy one, get one. Three dollars for six pounds of apples. Can't go wrong there. Then I ran into a recipe for apple butter at Money Saving Mom. Now, I've never tried the stuff before, but it was too easy not to try, and I had everything I needed. Best part? All done in the slow cooker. I have a 4.5 qt. slow cooker, so I had to cut the ingredients down a bit. I'll put my measurements in parenthesis. If you have a slow cooker larger than 4.5 qt., you should be good to follow the original recipe.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter
  • 6 lbs. medium apples - any variety (4 1/2 lbs.)
  • 2 tbs. vanilla extract (1 1/2 tbs.)
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar (1 1/4 c.)
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves (3/4 tsp.)
  • 3-4 tsps. cinnamon (I used 3 tsps.)
Peel, core, and slice apples into fourths. Place in slow cooker with vanilla and cook on low for 6-8 hours stirring after every few hours. Once apples are very tender (mine was ready after 5 1/2 hours), mash with a fork or potato masher. Then stir in sugar and spices. Cook on low for another 5-6 hours, stirring occassionally.

Cool and pour into airtight jars or containers. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 pint jars, depending on apple type. (I was able to get out about 5 half pint jars from one batch!)

These would make adorable gifts, which is what I chose to do. There are a few foodies in my family that I know would love this. There are so many ways to personalize the jars, and the different ways to devour this stuff is endless! Money Saving Mom has free apple butter printables that you can apply to your jars, and presto! Doesn't get any easier than that.

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