So, my friend paintboxsoapworks has been talking about this apple butter a lot recently this fall, and I finally got her to write the recipe down. Because, seriously, apple butter plus bourbon and a vanilla bean? World of yes, there. Right about the time she posted it over on her blog Butter and Eggs, one of the jam stalls at the farmer’s market offered a 6 or so pound bag of Cortland apples for $6, so the stars aligned pretty perfectly on the timing for this. And what I got out of this recipe is gonna last me a while – that’s one quart jar and two 10 oz jars on that final picture.
The only alteration I will note on this recipe is that I did this entirely in my crockpot, as opposed to in the stove, and started the crockpot about halfway through peeling all the apples (which took about an hour total).
Vanilla Bourbon Apple Butter
Makes at least 1 qt jar plus 2 10 oz jars apple butter
- appx 5 lbs medium to large apples, peeled and chopped (I got a six pound bag of Cortlands)
- .5 c water
- .5 to 1 c dark brown sugar (I used 1 c, adjust based on your tastes)
- 3 T lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- ground nutmeg and cinnamon to taste
- pinch salt
- .25 to .5 c bourbon or whiskey (I used half a cup of Bulleit)
Combine all of your ingredients in a crockpot set to high, cover, and cook for approximately two and a half to three hours. Stir fairly frequently; the apples are ready when you can take them and smush them against the side of the pot with a spoon. The difference between pictures 1 and 2 is after approximately two hours of cooking on high.
Turn off the heat, remove your vanilla bean, and then take a stick blender (best gift I’ve ever gotten, seriously) and blend, until you get a silky sauce similar to picture 3. Give it a few extra passes, as there might be a chunk of apple or two that it misses. (If you don’t have one, a normal blender will probably work fine, but you’ll need to do it in batches, and it will be messier.)
Turn your crockpot back on to low, and cook for another half hour. Do a quick taste test at this point, and determine if you’d like to add more lemon, sugar, or spices. Hayley reminds you that hot apple butter is going to taste sweeter/stronger than after you’ve chilled it, but that the spices will continue to bloom once it’s chilling in the fridge.
You’ll know the butter is done once you’ve got a thick sauce that stands up in peaks when you drop it back into the pot (see: picture 3 for the beginnings of that). Do one last taste test, spoon into jars, and let cool before putting on the lids, and refrigerate/freeze as you so choose!
I’ll be using this on this morning’s midmorning snack – apple cherry bread from the farmer’s market.