Apple butter varies from apple sauce in that apple sauce is just puréed apples with some spice and sweetener optionally added. Apple butter has a bit of a cult following because it more accurately captures the essence of the apple. It consists of a spiced apple sauce that's cooked down for several hours so the sugars caramelize, preserving the mixture in the process. Cooking the mixture also produces more complex flavor compounds, activates naturally occurring pectin so it gels and reduces it so it's more concentrated. The result is rich, creamy apple heaven. Fall apple perfection captured in a jar. You can make a large batch from this recipe and can it for future use or spread it immediately on toast, pancakes or use for anything where you would use fruit preserves.
Use the right types of apple in your preferred wayI've found that sweet tart apples that you'd normally use for baking shine in apple butter. This particular recipe differs from traditional recipes because the skins are left on so the flavor is more complex. This is similar to wine production in where the skins contribute to more flavor depth. Another side effect of this is increased nutritional content because apple skins contain a multitude of antioxidants. This recipe requires a food processor in order to achieve this goal. In my testing I was unable to purée apples adequately in my blender.
Absolutely Apple Butter Recipe3 pounds apples (about 10) that are best for baking. Organic preferred.
½ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup, dark agave syrup or barley malt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt