Friday, November 4, 2011
The Setting: Rainy day.
The Soundtrack: That 70s Show.
Steaming up the Slow-Cooker: Apple Butter
The Scenario: Tons of apples in the fridge. Starting to get mealy.
Cracker Barrel is my favorite chain restaurant for a couple of reasons. Aside from having the best food at the best value of just about any place I've eaten, they come from Middle Tennessee like me, and their biscuits and apple butter are amazing.
Scrumptious at CB any time of year, apple butter comes out of my own kitchen primarily in the fall when the comforting aromas fill my chilly apartment with the warmth and wonder of the harvest and the holidays.
Real-estate agents wish they could harness its power.
Here is my recipe.
Warning: this apple butter smells so good by the third hour of cooking, it may induce premature festivity. I put Oia in a "My First Christmas" onesie and started digging out the holiday DVDs.
This recipe only yields about one cup of apple butter. If you want to make a larger batch, excess apple butter can be frozen in an airtight container for two-three months. This apple butter is a little more tart than that of, say, Cracker Barrel. If you'd like to make it a little sweeter, add 1/4 cup brown sugar or 3 T maple syrup.
1 1/4 lbs peeled and cored apples, cut into eighths
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
scant pinch cardamom
3/4 cup water
1. Place all ingredients in a slow-cooker set to high. Cover and cook 4 hours.
2. Uncover, stir, place lid back on ajar, and continue cooking 1-2 more hours or till excess water has evaporated. Mixture should be dark and thick.
3. Use an immersion blender to process mixture till smooth and uniform, or simply stir to break up the largest pieces if desired.
Yields about 1 cup apple butter.