Just in case the shorter days, cooler weather, and falling crimson leaves haven’t put you in an autumn state of mind, I have a recipe that is sure to get the job done. This slow cooker spiced apple butter is both wonderfully aromatic, and lick the
spoon jar clean delicious. It’s perfect for spreading on toast, topping oatmeal, dolloping on warm pancakes, smearing on fresh baked biscuits or muffins, in recipes, etc, etc. Yesterday I mixed half apple butter and half barbeque sauce and smothered our Field Roast veggie burgers with it. So delicious! Also it will make your house smell amazing. Bonus.
Lucky for me, my parents dropped off a big bag of homegrown, organic apples last week. I just love these apples. They’re all different colors, shapes, sizes, with all kinds of spots and a few bruises and odd little bumps. Perfectly imperfect. Just the way apples should be. They were begging to made into something cozy and delicious.
This is the time of year I usually dust off my slow cooker and start simmering all day soups, stews, and the like. For some reason, I haven’t really ventured out of my Crock-Pot comfort zone into the world of fruit butters, sweet sauces, and desserts, but I decided it was high time I did. Let me tell you, I loved it. Core and chop the apples (no need to peel), throw them in with some apple cider, natural sweeteners, and lemon juice and let the slow cooker do the work for you. Let me reiterate, YOUR HOUSE WILL SMELL AMAZING. Sorry to shout, but dang it smelled good. Seriously. Thank you, slow cooker.
Then just let them babies cook… all day long. Or overnight would be even better. Can you imagine the sweet dreams you’d have with spiced apple butter wafting through your house all night? After eight solid hours, you’re going to add in a handful of spices, give it nice stir, crank it up to high and let the flavors meld and deepen for another couple hours. After cooling for a bit, I blended my butter in the Vitamix, or you can also strain it through a metal strainer or food mill.
To add a bit of sweetness, I skipped the refined sugar and used a mixture of dates and coconut sugar. Some apple butter recipes skip the sweetener altogether so feel free to use only the dates or only the coconut sugar, or try this unsweetened if you wish.
Friends, this is going to be your favorite fall condiment. I highly recommend giving some to your friends or family, or freezing the extra, unless you plan on canning it. I hope you enjoy making, smelling, and eating this as much as we have!
Slow Cooker Spiced Apple Butter
Inspired by a recipe from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker cookbook
Makes about 4 1/2 cups
- 3.5 lbs of apples, washed, cored and chopped into large pieces (I used our apple corer/slicer)
- 1 1/4 cup of apple cider, apple juice, or water
- 1 cup of pitted dates, any variety
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
Add your cider, juice or water to a blender and add the dates, coconut sugar, and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add the washed, cored, and chopped apples to a 4 qt slow cooker and pour the cider mixture over it. Turn the slow cooker to Low, cover, and cook for 8 hours. The apples should be very soft.
Stir in the spices, turn the slow cooker to High, and cook uncovered for 2 more hours. Give it another stir part way through, if you can. At this point, turn the slow cooker off. and let the mixture cool slightly, maybe about 20-30 minutes. Carefully pour the apple mixture into a blender (blend half and then the other half, if your blender is smaller) and blend until smooth. You can also strain it through a wire mesh strainer, but I didn’t have the patience for that. The blender option is so much easier, and yields the most velvety smooth apple butter.
Pour into jars and store in the fridge. Freeze any that you won’t eat within 2 weeks (Approximately. Obviously if anything looks or smells off then don’t eat it. It may also last longer than that, but that’s my best guess just to be on the safe side…)