Winter is here. There is snow on the ground, I bought a scarf that is basically a blanket, and my furry winter jacket has me nuzzling my face into it while out in the cold Toronto air. The other day I walked outside my door and watched an lady on the other side of the road do an unintentional Elaine dance before falling over on to the icy sidewalk. I held back a laugh and did my best surprised yet concerned person face, “Are you okay?!" I asked loudly. She said nothing. “MA'AM! ARE YOU OKAY?! DO YOU NEED HELP?!" I yelled, because then I was like, maybe she hit her head and is concussed! “Yes yes, I'm fine.", she said clearly embarrassed and wishing I hadn't drawn attention to her. “Oh, uhhhhh okay. Well, ummmmm, have a good day! Not that it was going good at this moment, but you know what I mean! Like I mean, I hope it gets better!" It was an awkward interaction. I felt bad she felt embarrassed but then I felt embarrassed for myself because of my weird response. But what was I supposed to do? Just watch and laugh and walk away? That's cold. Ice cold. Ha.
I made apple butter this week which makes these cold days easier. I turned the slow cooker on and basically just dumped everything in and left it for hours while it warmed up my apartment and spread Christmasy scents of cinnamon and nutmeg wafting around. I put on Christmas music and let the holiday feel fully set in.
This apple butter has no extra sweetener added since the apples themselves always lend enough sweetness in my opinion. It's a very easy recipe, takes no skill at all and makes a great holiday gift for your vegan paleo gluten–free lactose intolerant friend. Their life sounds depressing so they need this in a very big way. Also good for other people who eat all food. Might be okay for your cat, but I may be wrong as I'm just making this up right now. But a cat licking apple butter off a spoon would be super cute. You can use it on lots of things– spread on some toast, smothered on a pork chop, added to a cheese board, or dolloped into some yogurt or oatmeal. It's perfect just to eat right off the spoon as well.
So pick out your favourite Christmas movie, put the tea kettle on, and pull out that dusty slow cooker that sits in the crawlspace underneath all the weird craft projects you started and never finished in the last year. I hope this apple butter makes you as happy as it did for me.
SMALL BATCH APPLE BUTTER (sugar free)
makes 3.5 to 4 cups of apple butter || prep time: 10 minutes // cook time: 6 hours
inspiration: roaming apple orchards with my sister
the feels: lightly sweet + smooth texture
eat with: toast, muffins, pork chops, yogurt, oatmeal, layered between cakes,whipped cream,maple syrup.
might like if you're into: picking your own fruit, rolling hillsides, cider, fermentation, bourbon, hot buttered rum, mulled wine.
- 4 lbs (10-12 medium) apples of your choice (I used Ambrosia)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated
- 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- Leave skins on; core and slice apples. Add apples and water to slow cooker and cook on high, covered. Leave for 3.5 to 4 hours stirring once in awhile.
- Use potato masher or big wooden spoon to mash apples well. Blend up apple mixture using a hand blender, Vitamix or regular blender. Add the apple butter back into the slow cooker (unless hand blended) as well as the remaining ingredients and cook on high, uncovered for another 1 to 2 hours depending how thick you want it. Keep cooking longer to reduce down to whatever thickness you desire.