It’s slow cooker season! And by ‘season,’ I mean this: I’m going to pull it out of the cabinet and use it exactly two times. I’ll make my Mom’s beef stew and apple butter, and then it goes back into the cabinet to wait for Spring.
Truthfully, I’m not the biggest fan of the slow cooker. It, um, kinda makes food all taste the same way. I’ve tried hard to love it. I’m a busy Mama, and I know the slow cooker is my friend. It wants to be my friend. It stares at me longingly when I’m on my tip toes trying to reach the pans on the top shelf. And I reject it every time. I just need the thrill of the chase, you know? I need it to be more like a Dutch oven with a few hot spots that requires some effort to coax out the flavor. I need it, well…to be a little less slutty. It should work a little harder for my love. It’s too easy.
All the slow cooker has going for it is the ability to cook foods to mush.
Don’t get me wrong, I use the slow cooker to make cranberry butter, creme brulee, and bread pudding. These foods benefit from a low and slow cooking environment. They’re one notch above ‘mush,’ in a good way.
But, apple butter is supposed to be mushy. It’s apples cooked beyond their breaking point, stirred with sugar and spices. It’s begging to be made in the slow cooker. So, grab a 3-pound bag and get to work!
This is a small batch recipe that makes 2 pints, or 4 half pints. It’s just enough apple butter to enjoy (and not get sick of), plus a jar for a friend.
I’ve been stirring it into Camille’s yogurt and topping my bagel with it, too. I made it with half honey, and I love it that way, but I wanted to let you know I’ve made all-honey versions (for Camille, of course) and all-sugar versions, too. I try to keep Camille’s sugar consumption on the natural side of things. I’ll keep doing this as long as I can, but she has enjoyed a few bites of my all-sugar version a time or two. I should also mention this is a good place to sub apple pie spice (or even pumpkin pie spice!) if you have it. Any and all warm spices are welcome here.
Yields 2 pints
15 minPrep Time
7 hrCook Time
7 hr, 15 Total Time
- 3 pounds of your favorite apples
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)*
- Peel, core and roughly chop the apples.
- In the bottom of a slow cooker with a capacity of at least 2 quarts, stir together the honey, sugar, and spices.
- Add the apples, and stir to coat.
- Cook on LOW for 6-7 hours. Remove the lid, and stir until the apple fall apart. Continue cooking with the lid off for 30-60 minutes, until the apple butter thickens slightly.
- Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
*Feel free to substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of apple pie spice for all of the spices called for in the recipe.