Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Blackstrap Balsamic Apple Butter

Isn't that a fancy recipe name?  I'm quite proud of it.  It's almost as good as the apple butter, and boy, isn't this a good year for apples!  Our favorite snack right now is an apple out of hand.

When I buy apples to make applesauce, I buy seconds and I set aside two quarts of fresh applesauce to make apple butter with.  I use my slow cooker because it's so easy and the apple butter won't scorch.

I would say I like a medium-strong apple butter with subtle spice and deep flavor.  I've had some apple butter that was more like applesauce because it wasn't cooked down very long - thin and light brown in color - and I've had some apple butter that was so syrupy and black it looked like tar.  I like something in the middle.

The blackstrap molasses and balsamic vinegar at the end do not really reveal their presence, but rather amplify and deepen the flavors.  Some apples might have enough complexity on their own and won't need the touch of blackstrap or balsamic at the end. 

My very favorite way to eat apple butter is dolloped on top of cottage cheese.  Another favorite is on top of sweet potato biscuits.  And then we just use it as a toast spread for any old breakfast because we all love it.

Blackstrap Balsamic Apple Butter

2 quarts unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. blackstrap molasses, optional
1 Tbsp. best-quality balsamic vinegar, optional

Combine applesauce, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a 4-quart slow cooker.  Put the lid on and turn on high for 1 hour.  Remove lid or cock lid so apple butter can cook down.  Stir occasionally, taking care to stir in any darkened edges.  When apple butter is deep chocolately brown and significantly reduced (this is a matter of available time and opinion), use an immersion blender to further puree the mixture.  Taste.  Add optional blackstrap and balsamic, starting with a tablespoon of each and going from there.  May need more sugar, too, depending on your taste and the apples you used.  
Store in the fridge for 4 weeks or so, or can pints in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Makes about 3-4 pints, depending how long you cook it down.


Unknown said...

I use the same method and like mine a nice brick red/brown color - not too light or too dark...I've always put applesauce on my cottage cheese, I'll have to try the apple butter!

jenny_o said...

I have never had apple butter, much less gourmet apple butter. I am feeling deprived!

Hazel said...

Sounds delicious, and I have to say my first thought was that I'd make it for the name alone!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Sounds so good.. My grandmother made it every year.. I loved it on hot biscuits .

AmyK said...

Cottage cheese and apple butter: perfect combination!

Kathie said...

Wow that looks yummy! I didn't make any apple butter yet this year, but I do have lots of applesauce to tackle this later on.

Sandy Hines said...

For the past 5 years I have been making my apple butter light on the cinnamon and heavy on the cloves. Everybody raved about it and said don't change it it's perfect. The first time it was an accident, I spilled too much cloves in the batch - lucky mistake! Every year all my kids and friends want to know if I made more. I've never used balsamic vinegar and molasses, think I'll try it. Sounds good