One of the best aromas ever is a slow cooker full of apples and spice...there is nothing like it, and one of the easiest ways to enjoy the fall smells is by making Caramel Apple Butter. My family loves to eat it on crisp toast and pancakes. My favorite is over salted caramel ice cream...don't judge!
All you need to make this simple apple butter is a slow cooker and about 20 large apples. My favorite kind to use are Jonathon's or Honeycrisp. They are the perfect mixture of firm, sweet, and tart. Wash your apples and peel them. I like to use my old fashioned apple peeler...it does the job in a matter of seconds. I think I found this peeler at Wal-Mart for $19.00. When the peeler comes my husband and kids are ready to help.
Once the apples are peeled, you can use an apple slicer to slice them into large wedges. Place them in a slow cooker and turn it on to the low setting. It's ok if there are little bits of peel on the apple, they cook down great.
Once the slow cooker is full, add four cups of sugar and three tablespoons of apple pie seasoning. If you can not find apple pie seasoning, mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves to a mixture you like.
Put a lid on the slow cooker and cook for eight hours on the low setting. Stir occasionally to mix the spices and sugars through the mixture. You will have a delicious amount to apple juice that cooks out of the apples over cooking time. When the time is skim off most of the juice and set aside. The spiced apple juice can be cooked down to make a delicious apple syrup for pancakes!
Add a jar of your favorite softened caramel. and mix together. I like to use an immersion blender to blend the chunks up into a half chunky sauce. If your mixture is still too thin, cook a little longer in the pot. (It will thicken even more in the fridge.)
Once your apple butter is done, you can refrigerate it for up to three weeks or freeze it for up two months. If you want it to last through the winter, you can process them in a water bath for 20 minutes and they will keep for a year. You can find the instructions for the water bath process at the Ball Fresh Preserving Site.
Just imagine a spice filled thick sweet and tart apple sauce in one bite...and you will know why we are crazy for this recipe! I usually cook up several batches through the fall to give as housewarming and holiday gifts. A jar of apple butter, and a loaf of bread and you have the perfect gift. You can view the KUTV Fresh Living Segment by clicking on the highlighted link. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
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