Apple butter is my favorite fruit spread for toast or pancakes. It also makes a nice addition to oatmeal. Several years back my cousins Linda and Joan introduced me to apple butter made in a slow cooker. This recipe is a combination of several recipes. I’ve played with the contents over time to come up with what I think is the perfect apple butter.
Traditional apple butter contains a large amount of sugar and needless calories. Splenda works wonderfully in the recipe giving a low sugar rendition of apple butter. There is no difference from the traditional sugar; just a heck of a lot less calories. Sweetness is a personal preference. I like mine a little sweeter and use 3 cups. 2 cups of Splenda makes what I consider the typical apple butter.
I caution you to allow this recipe to take its course. You may be tempted to stop the process too soon. The 11-12 hours of cooking makes all the difference in taste. In the final hour you will taste a definite caramelization of the apple butter and a deeper taste.
There is a variation I recommend if you want to give the apple butter a cinnamon boost. Use 2 cups of Splenda and 1 cup of red hot cinnamon candies. It will no longer be no-sugar added but will have a slight kick from the cinnamon candies.
No Sugar Added Apple Butter
6 – 6 ½ pounds apples (I prefer Winesap or another tart baking apple)
2 – 3 cups of Splenda sugar substitute
3 teaspoons apple pie spice
¼ teaspoon salt
Spray a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Core and slice the apples leaving the skins on the apples. The apple skins add flavor and contain pectin which will help the apple butter thicken. Using the shredding blade on a food processor shred the apples in batches. Place them in the slow cooker.
Stir together the Splenda, apple pie spice and salt. Pour over the apples and mix until incorporated in the apples.
Place the lid on the slow cooker. Set temperature to high and cook for 1 hour leaving the lid closed. After the first hour, reduce the slow cooker temperature to low. Stir. Put the lid back onto the cooker and cook for 6 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
With the multipurpose metal blade, process batches of the apple butter for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a smooth consistency. Put the processed apple butter back into the slow cooker and cook for an additional 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
Remove the lid from the slow cooker and continue cooking for 1 – 2 hours until apple butter reaches proper consistency and a deep apple caramel flavor. You will need to stir it more often as it begins to thicken.
Clean and sterilize 4 pint jars in your dishwasher or in the sink with extremely hot water. Ladle the apple butter into the jars. Wipe the jar rims to make certain they have no apple butter on the rim. Seal with Mason jar lids and rings. Turn upside down and allow to sit overnight. They do not need processed in a hot water bath. The heat of the butter will seal the jars.
Yield: 4 pint jars.