Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An Apple a Day: Tuesday

Today I'm cooking up a big batch of apple butter. Early this morning I peeled, cored, and cut into eighths a combination of Cortland, McIntosh, and Gala apples (15 in all) and set them to cook on low for 8 hours in my 6-quart crockpot, with a tablespoon of vanilla extract drizzled over the top. While I was peeling I had the idea to include a few of the long, curly peel pieces on top, thinking perhaps they'll lend some of their color and flavor to the apples cooking below. Not really sure, but it looks pretty!
When time's up on the first phase of cooking, I'll pick out the peels and mash up the apples. Then I'll stir in 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, then let the mixture cook on low for another 6 hours.(Below: the apple mixture after phase one)
This is a new recipe for me, so I am eager to see how it turns out. It should be done cooking just before bedtime tonight, so I will update this post tomorrow some photos, a report on the taste, and whether any recipe adjustments are in order.


After cooking for 6 hours in phase two, the apple mixture smelled AMAZING but was still rather thin, so I set it to cook on high for about 45 minutes with the lid off to cook off some of the liquid. That seemed to do the trick. Next, I was looking for a smoother consistency, so I used an immersion blender to even out the texture, then let it sit for another half hour or so on low to really come together and get thick. (In case you're wondering, bedtime got moved back quite a bit! Next time I think I'll do phase one overnight and begin phase two in the morning.)

The 15 apples I started out with cooked down to about 7 cups of apple butter. On my last trip to the grocery store I was happy to discover that Ball (the canning company) now makes plastic 8 oz. freezer jars (in a pack of 5) perfect for projects like this.
I had some of the apple butter on an English muffin for breakfast this morning and it was a perfect taste of autumn. I like my apple butter just a little on the tart side, so the amount of sugar I used was perfect. If you try this out, you'll want to adjust the sugars (up to 3/4 cup of each) based on your taste preferences and the natural sweetness of the apples you use.

Tomorrow's Apple a Day Recipe: Apple Spice Bundt Cake!

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