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Monday, September 24, 2012

healthy apple butter


Do you love apple butter? Me, too! But I don't love the calories. Most apple butters contain almost as much butter as they do apple. For a lighter, healthier, but still delicious and delightfully easy alternative, try this.
  • 8 to 10 apples. Core, dice. Don't bother peeling. I assume your apples are washed, so why bother? You can use several different types of apple, or all one type. I don't suggest making it entirely out of Granny Smiths, however, as it might end up a little more tart than you are accustomed to!
  • One stick of butter. That's approximately 1 Tb for each apple. I have used coconut oil in place of butter with good success, for those who can't have dairy. Use your judgement and increase or decrease the amount of fat if your apples are extra large or very small. Cooking apples are the best for this sort of thing as they mush so beautifully and improve in flavor with cooking, but I can't get them where I live at this time in my life, so the regular eating apples I use are generally the right size per Tb of butter. Oh, and please use real butter! No margarine rubbish. Seriously.
  • 3-4 Tb water 
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c brown sugar -- or honey, or ideally none at all
  • 1 Tb cinnamon, ground 
  • 1 tsp ginger root, ground 
  • 1/2 tsp orange peel, ground 
  • 1 Tb vanilla essence 
Dump everything but the vanilla into a large pot with a lid. With lid on, heat on the stove at a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes, or until everything is beautifully mushy. Add the vanilla off the heat. Taste, and modify by increasing spices or sugar amount if you need to.

Now, blend perfectly smooth. I prefer an immersion wand blender for this step, as I don't have to wait for things to cool off. Blend until there are no chunks and no pieces of skin to be found.

Storage. You can refrigerate. Of course, use your judgement regarding the life of your apple butter in the fridge. You can freeze. You can also pack pint sized jars with the hot apple butter and can them in a water bath for 5 minutes, so that you can keep apples on the shelf for a much longer period of time. This apple butter is gorgeous all by itself as a dessert, or spread on toast, or with peanut butter in a sandwich. I've even enjoyed it on vanilla icecream. Yum.

Happy cooking!

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