Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple Butter!!

My Apple Butter

A month or so ago was the Heritage Festival Weekend in Lanesville, Indiana.  The festival showcases antique tractors and rural farming culture.  You know, I am a city girl, but my husband is a real country guy at heart. My husband's company did the tractor pull there.  ...But the reason I always enjoyed going all these years was for the apple butter.  They make and sell apple butter that they cook outside, in a big cauldron, over an open fire.  It is the best apple butter I have ever tasted; the two jars I bought are already gone.  The ingredients listed on their jars are:  apples, sugar, cinnamon oil.

I actually found a similar-sounding recipe on-line (click here) but I really don't want to stand over a hot fire all day (or even for a short time and where would I even do this???)  The more realistic idea for me, outside of just stocking up on cases of the magical stuff from Lanesville, is to make my own in a Crockpot.  I decided to really do it once I found a very easy-sounding recipe from Buttercream Couture.  Find it on their Facebook Page (click here) from October 19.

I made a few simple changes and took lots of notes... and I canned mine for gifts.  This is my recipe and it differs a bit from the original.  I will say that it is not the same as Lanesville's, but it is really good.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter Recipe
Click here for a printer-friendly version.

7-1/4 pounds apples (weighed before preparing), peeled, cored, and chopped.  I used Fujis sold by the bag. This is the most that will fit in my 5 quart Crockpot and still allow the lid to close!
3 cups white sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

First, prepare apples and place them in a slow cooker. 

Mix sugar and spices.  Pour on top of apples.  No need to stir yet.

Cook on HIGH for 2 hours.  

Now is the time to stir the pot!  Then, cook on LOW for 10 hours.  (I did this overnight.) 

Then, use an immersion blender to smooth the consistency, using the masher foot for this first blending.

 At this point, it tasted perfect.  I wanted to thicken it.  The original  recipe said "You will know when it is done when you get a spoonful from the slow cooker and there is no water separation around the outside edge and it holds to the spoon if you invert it."  I had a way to go before getting to that point.  What I scraped from the sides was perfect so I knew I just needed to cook off more of the water.  The original recipe suggested keeping the lid off but this method would work best if on the stovetop.  Without the lid, the Crockpot just cannot keep the food hot enough.  I wanted it to boil a bit (at least on the edges) and I could only achieve that by keeping the lid on.

This is what my apple butter looked like at this point:

Actually, I like this texture and don't mind the separation, but I was trying to learn from this recipe.  If I were making this for myself, I would be happy at this point!  In many ways, this was like the Lanesville apple butter because theirs separates and has a texture like this.

Next, cook on high for five hours, stir, and check consistency.  (I did allow it to cook for 1 hour with lid off, but I could tell we weren't getting anywhere so I put it back on).

Then, set on low and cook for 3 hours.  (The reason I set it on low was that I had an appointment and just felt safer setting it back to low.  This is a pretty forgiving recipe!)   

Next, take off the lid and use the immersion blender again, this time with the regular blending foot.  

It was ready and looked like this:

With the lid off and the Crockpot still on high to keep the apple butter hot, I got stuff ready for canning.  I kept it that way until the process was complete.  

This recipe filled five 8-oz jelly jars plus a bit to enjoy now! whatever I comsumed while sampling!!

I processed these in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  (1/4" headspace)

I used my computer and the labels that came with the Ball Jelly Jars.  (You know, why re-invent the wheel?)  They were printed with Microsoft French Script at 16 point.

I wanted to give one away to my daughter's teacher.   I found some apple paper in my stash for the topper and some scraps for a scarecrow embellishment.

The scarecrow was cut from Simply Scarecrows at 2-3/4" on my Expression.  The jar topper was cut from paper at 7" from George (the circle) using Real Dial Size.  

My jar lids were 2-3/4" in diameter so a 7" circle for the topper worked out great!

I cut that jar topper from card stock, so I did take some time to carefully smooth it down and make it lay neatly against the jar, using twine to secure it in place.  I cut a couple of tiny holes in the scarecrow  and used a tool to lace the twine through.  (This tool is one I bought on-line when my daughter was into having feathers in her hair.  It is called a needle tool and used for hair extensions.  I have used it way more for threading twine than I ever did to thread her hair into those silicone-lined crimping beads!)

I love the way that paper and die cuts dress up food gifts!

I also tried a new bread recipe when I was in the middle of the apple-butter-making.  This has a biscuit-like consistency without much work and uses only four ingredients.  There are several of these running around Pinterest, but I ended up sort of winging it based on notes from several of them.

7UP Pan Biscuits
Click here for a printer-friendly version.

4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream (regular, not reduced fat)
1 cup generic Lemon-Lime soft drink (like 7UP)
1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 425°.  Melt butter in the microwave.  Pour into a 9x11 pan.  Spread out evenly.

Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl.  It will be a very wet dough.  Pour in the pan on top of butter.  Spread the batter to the edges.

Bake 425° for 20-25 min.  Cut into rectangles.  Brush tops with additional melted butter to serve like a dinner roll or cut in halves to put apple butter inside!

Do I even have to tell you how fabulous this was with the apple butter????  My mom and the grandkiddos came by while it was baking.  Needless to say, it was gobbled up in no time!  Total hit and perfect for fall!

Thank you for checking my blog post today.  You can find many of my past projects by checking My Project Gallery.


Carolyn Lineberger said...

Wonderfully awesome! Great story, delicious recipes, beautiful pictures, and mouth-watering food! You rock, Nadia!!!

Sis Patterson said...

Oh my apple goodness!

How absolutely fabulous is this - thank you for sharing the recipes! Both apple butter and biscuits sound yummy! I may have to find some apples and give this a whirl.

I love the jar for Piper's teacher too. The scarecrow "jazz hands" are too precious with the brown gardening gloves and straw tufts.

Perfectly lovely and wonderful!

Maria said...

Yum! I can't remember the last time I had apple butter and now I want to make some! The bread looks delicious too. Thanks for the recipes and of course your great detailed instructions.
Your jar topper and scarecrow tag are great too!

Michele said...

That's a fantastic post! love the apple butter crock pot recipe, thank you! that scarecrow is adorable!

Sara Andrews said...

Now I'm hungry!:) Love the paper and scarecrow as they are perfect for your apple butter.

And way to go using your stash!!

ScrappyMama said...

OK, no way in the world would I EVER try to make my own apple butter (I'll buy the Amish apple butter OR even good ole' Smuckers!), BUT I may give the biscuit recipe a try...even I can handle 4 ingredients!!

Stephanie said...

I don't know whether to thank you or curse you. lol Biscuits are my biggest weakness. I like apple butter too but I crave biscuits. (with butter) I know I will be making this. (probably this weekend)

Cynthia Eloise Starr said...

yummy. love the idea of making the apple butter in the crock pot.

Vickie said...

Thanks for the recipes I will be trying these for sure. I love Apple Butter.

Michelle said...

Recipes sounds great! I used to love Apple Butter. I have not had it in years. May need to try your recipe. I made strawberry jalepeno jam and ghost pepper jelly for the first time this year and they both turned out great! So apple butter..sounds pretty easy to make since your recipe does not require me to slave over a hot pot like mine did. Have a great day Nadia and thank you for sharing.


Donna Boyce said...

That sounds wonderful! I love going to the Southern Christmas show here in Charlotte every year and sampling the apple butter. I think that I will try your recipe and see how it goes.

Thanks for sharing!!!

cdm317 said...

That looks so yummy! Perfect idea to use the twine to secure that adorable tag to the jar. I will have to try the recipes, thanks! AS always, a very enjoyable post!

paperANDi - Stephanie said...

Hi Nadia!!!

Thank you for the recipes, I gotta try this! And your project is as lovely as always! Love the scarecrow! Super cute!

Diane said...

Nadia, your apple butter sounds delicious! Our favorite one is made from crab apples with no cinnamon in it. When finished, it is a deep pink and tart to the taste. It's really delicious! We cook it with the peels on and use an immersion blender too.

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