Sorry I've been a little MIA lately. After returning from a fabulous & fun girls' weekend in Vegas and starting a new job this week, I'm a little worn out. Amidst planning a Thanksgiving feast, I hope to spend the weekend relaxing and procrastinating and most enjoyably, catching up on all the goodies on my Google Reader!
As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a virtual apple orchard growing on our countertops. A few weeks ago, hubby and I decided to escape from this very un-Fall-like warm weather and visit Julian, a mountain town about an hour from San Diego. Hubby had never been apple picking (gasp!) so I dragged him out there to visit Raven Hill Orchards. Remembering the huge apples of my apple-picking youth, we were dismayed to find that the apples were tiny. TEEENY TINY. I suppose that's what you get for visiting at the end of apple picking season. We plucked away regardless, but now I'm stuck with a bushel of very sweet yet small apples. Aren't they cute? (they look 10x as large in this picture than reality)
Not knowing what to do with such small apples, I decided to make apple butter. Here are my baby-sized apples simmering in apple cider...YUM:
Because most of the recipes I found called for a certain amount of normal sized apples, I used this recipe as a guide, using apple cider instead of apple juice and adding spices by sight.
The resulting apple butter is sweet, spicy and an all around treat. I will most likely be making this again soon as we still have a ton of apples to make and making your own apple butter is much easier than I had anticipated. The apples are merely sliced, not peeled, shaving a nice chunk of time from the prep & cooking time.
Serve this atop some fresh biscuits or on a turkey sandwich and you'll be in heaven!
If you're interested in canning your apple butter, try using this complete kit from Ball.
Homemade Apple Butter
Adapted from Michael Smith
Approximately 10 crisp apples (I used a mix of Jonagold, Empire. Fuji and Red Delicious) - Don't peel apples as this adds to the flavor.
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of apple cider
1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, allspice and cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place all ingredients into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until apples break down and become very soft.
Using an immersion blender or a normal blender, puree the apples. Return to pot and continue to simmer until apple butter is thick.