It's Apple Season!
A few weeks back I received a postcard from a local farm heralding the news that apple picking time had arrived. I grabbed some baskets, the family, and my best pal Holly from 504 Main, and headed to the fruit-laden orchards.
Between our two families I think we picked around sixty pounds of apples!
So, what have we done with all those apples? Not much, actually. They're so crisp and delicious we've been enjoying them au naturel.
It's tradition, however, for my family to make apple butter in the fall. It's a wonderful way to capture the flavors of the season for later in the year. We enjoy it with toasted croissants or brioche for breakfast and over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
So, last night I peeled and chopped a few pounds of apples and threw them in the crock pot with some sugar and spices. It simmered all night long, so the house smelled like heaven in the morning!
Making apple butter doesn't take much effort because time does all the work. The vanilla bean and bourbon give this apple butter an added complexity and depth of flavor that will make your spoon swoon. I hope you'll give it a try!
Overnight Apple Butter with Bourbon & Vanilla Bean
makes approx. 72 ounces (nine 1/2 pint jars)
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 1/2 pounds apples - peeled, cored and finely chopped (we used a combination of Galas and Golden Delicious)
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 3 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon (we used Maker's Mark)
In the evening:
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, and salt. Add chopped apples and stir to coat. Add vinegar, vanilla scrapings and pods. Stir to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a large crock pot and cook covered, on high, for two hours.
- Remove lid, stir, then cover. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook through the night for 9-12 hours.
- Remove lid and cook for another hour, on low, uncovered.
- Remove vanilla pods. Use an immersion blender or transfer mixture to a food processor or blender (in batches) to puree. Stir in bourbon and cook for one final hour, uncovered, on low.
- Prepare new jars, lids and bands according to manufacturer instructions.
- Bring a large stock pot or canning pot filled with water to a boil.
- Fill jars with apple butter, leaving 1/2" head space.
- Wipe around the rim and tap on a counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Apply lids, fasten bands, and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
- Cool on towel lined counter. Check lids for vacuum seal before putting up.