Somehow I actually slept another 11 hours last night. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I slept 22 hours in 2 nights (not including the almost 2 hour nap I took yesterday)! I guess my body knows what it needs and the answer is SLEEP! I wish it were an 11 mile pace run, but sadly, NO : (
Since I woke up at 9:30, there was no way I was making it to 10am yoga and the thought of downdog had my sinuses aching. I had leftovers for breakfast and a few hours before the start of BEARS game. Although spending one’s weekend in a medicated haze (I love you Musinex cough syrup), isn’t ideal, I decided to use it my advantage, getting things done in the house that I have been wanting to and needing to do, ie laundry, blogging, and paying bills, all from the comfort of my couch (dressed in my BEARS shirt, of course).
I also had this huge bag of apples that I have been meaning to introduce to my crockpot and haven’t had the time.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make applesauce or apple butter, but decided on this recipe for Naked Apple Butter from Oh She Glows!
I was thrilled to find out that I could leave the skin on the apples (who wants to peal that many apples?) and even happier to hear that it added nutrients. So, I washed my hands REALLY good and got to work on chopping apples.
Thank goodness for this apple slicer and the awesome new cutting board from my Mom.
I didn’t weigh the apples, but there were enough to almost fill the crockpot. You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking, but I just sprayed the pot with cooking spray really well.
I set the crockpot on high for 4 hours and stirred every hour. I needed the break from the BEARS game after watching Cutler hit the ground for the 400th time, so the stirring was a welcome interruption.
The most wonderful thing about this recipe is the baked apple smell circulating throughout our house! It’s even better than a fall candle!
Around half time, lunch (Chinese food) was delivered. I ordered soup, which definitely hit the spot!
Another disappointing BEARS quarter later and my apples were soft and fragrant. Perfect to mash up into applesauce with a wooden spoon.
I have never had homemade applesauce before, so I couldn’t proceed without sampling a small bowl. OMG!!! It was incredible! I’m not sure how I have never made crockpot applesauce before!
I loved the plain apples with just a sprinkle of cinnamon, but I see endless possibilities for a fruit cobbler or Thanksgiving Day side!
While the apple mixture cooled, the BEARS came back creating an exciting and nail biting 4th quarter…ending in A WIN!!! I can’t believe they pulled that off…WOW!
I debated using my hand mixture to smooth out the applesauce, but in the end went with my food processor.
I processed the apples for a few minutes…
And had a magnificent applesauce.
So it was another few minutes in the processor until I had a thicker butter like sauce.
Which went right back into the crockpot for another hour.
During this time, I got myself outside for a stroll. The fresh air felt great! It was a gorgeous fall day and would have been perfect for an end season bike ride! I walked in the door just in time to add some apple pie spice to my apple butter.
I used a little more than 1 tsp in my entire batch. These apples (I think they were Gala) were sweet enough that I didn’t need any extra sweeteners.
I love cherry, pumpkin, apple, fig and sweet potato butters, and my first batch of homemade apple butter was a HUGE success!
It’s a good thing I hang on to all my old jelly/jam jars! I plan on giving a few of these out as fun fall gifts.
I think that I am better today than yesterday and because I don’t like to be sick, I am planning on being EVEN better tomorrow. Thanks everyone for your kind get well wishes! Feeling crumby is a bummer! The only good thing about being sick was spending 48 straight hours with the BOY and catching up on DVRed shows and magazines!
And of course making this amazing sugar-free apple butter! I can’t wait to smother it all over my oatmeal!
Slow Cooker Naked Apple Butter
From Oh She Glows!
Apples, an equal mixture of sweet and tart apples (I used Gala, I think)
Ground cinnamon or other spices like nutmeg, ground cloves, etc, to taste
tiny bit of fresh lemon juice, to taste (helps to preserve), optional (I didn’t use)
1. Slice apples. There is no need to peel the apples. In fact, your apple butter is much healthier with the peel left on. Tip: If you have an apple slicer, now is the time to use it. I love my OXO apple slicer. Add apple slices to slow cooker.
2. Set slow cooker on HIGH for 4 hours, covered with lid. During those 4 hours, give it a few stirs as the apples tend to stick to the bottom a bit. You can add some apple juice or cider to prevent sticking. If you’d rather cook it longer on a lower heat, you can do that too.
3. Mash apples and turn off heat. After 4 hours, most of the apples are soft enough to mash up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. After mashing, we now have applesauce (with the peel of course)!
4. Cool slightly and scoop into high-speed blender. With a big ladle, scoop the apple mixture into a blender. If you have a small blender you may have to do this in a few batches. Make sure lid is secured tightly.
5. Blend the mixture. Start on a low setting and go faster until you reach max speed. You may need to let some steam escape through the top hole if there is one. Puree mixture until super smooth and buttery. If it’s still chunky, keep blending.
6. Pour the apple butter back into the slow cooker. Turn heat on HIGH and cook down, uncovered, for another 45-90 minutes until it’s as thick as you desire. After 45 mins, I was left with 5 cups and the consistency was very similar to my pumpkin butter. Keep in mind it will thicken slightly once chilled overnight. (I kept mine in for about an hour).
7. When ready, add cinnamon to taste (or other spices if desired) and a very small amount of lemon juice if desired.
8. Cool completely and store in an air-tight jar for up to 1 month in the fridge. Or you can try canning as well.