I’ve been promising to get this recipe posted for what feels like ages. I should have just posted it immediately after making a batch for gifts for the holidays, but I kept forgetting the adjustments I made to a found recipe until now. So those of you that got a jar of Snarfy’s Deluxe Apple Butter, here’s how you can play the home game! Set it up to cook overnight and have it fresh in the morning (it’ll last a couple weeks in the fridge if you aren’t too busy eating it on everything), or start it in the morning and use a Water Bath Canning Method to preserve your apple butter for later.
If you’re doing this in the fall when apples are usually in season locally, check out which deals you can get on apples if you don’t happen to grow your own. I ended up using Red Delicious because they were on sale (I got 10 pounds for a wink and a smile essentially), but you can also use almost any combination (Gala + Granny Smith + Red Delicious or Honeycrisp or Jonagold or…) Apple varieties seem to be one of those debated topics among apple connoisseurs, but even after working at a nursery for 10 years and pretty much knowing the differences, I still get confused and just get the varieties I know and like. When you’re making something like apple butter, I really don’t think you need to worry about things like the texture of the apple flesh as you would for an apple pie.
However, it does seem like the factor to consider here is the sweetness and how sweet you want the end result to be. I thought that the apples I got were already pretty sweet, so I went light on the sugar (about 1/2 a cup), but I’ve seen recipes for crockpot apple butter that use up to 4 cups of sugar. I’ve also seen combinations of white and brown sugar. You can experiment how you like, but this is how I made it for Christmas 2015:
Crockpot Apple Butter
5 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar, depending on the sweetness of the apples
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice or cloves
1/4 tsp salt
Core and peel the apples. You can save yourself some time later on here by running them through a food processor to make them more of a puree, or you can slice them thin and just pop them in your crockpot. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl, add them to the crock, and thoroughly mix with the pureed/sliced apples. Set crockpot to low and cook for 10-12 hours. I know you’re not really supposed to open the crockpot once it’s cooking, but I still open and stir periodically (like every couple hours).
At about hour 8 or when the apples really start to loosen up and fall apart, take a whisk to them and start to break them up even more if you didn’t puree them to begin with. At about hour 10, run an immersion blender through the crockpot to make everything smooth. Allow to cook until thickened (check by taking out a spoonful and seeing if there’s water separation as it cools and check for actual thickness – it shouldn’t be runny). Mine was actually done at hour 10.
If you don’t want to go through the canning process and you can’t go through a batch in a couple weeks, you can freeze the extra and defrost as you need it. Enjoy on toast, over vanilla ice cream, in a pie, straight out of the jar, or however you like. Tip: If you use that apple butter pie recipe I linked right there and you’re using a 9″ deep dish pie, I’d say increase your filling by 50% to make sure you have enough. And if you’ve never had an apple butter pie, you’re in for a treat! Totally better than pumpkin pie and is the new house favorite.