Slow cooked apples, cider, brown sugar and spices caramelized into a rich brown butter should be a staple spread for any kitchen.
So this week necessitates the kind of baking that requires next to none of my time. Apple butter may take hours to make, but it really only takes fifteen minutes of my time. It's perfect. Fills my home with that warmth, and beautiful smell of slow cooking apples and spices and lets me have a few more hours with my precious spreadsheets and forms. Oh. The. Joy. It also gave me time to work on my donations for a fellow bloggers charity auction (details to come soon), so there is a bright side.
Traditionally apple butters are made with cinnamon, and occasionally another spice or two, but I went the "creative" (or simple) route with Chinese Five Spice powder: cassia cinnamon, cloves, star anise, anise seed, and ginger. I'm in love with the complexity it adds, and the depth of the flavors. I highly recommend it, especially if having a house full of warm apple spices sounds just as good to you on a cold winters day as it does to me.
Best of luck on your weeks. I'm now once again behind on projects and deadlines and have to run over to my new bank to tie up loose ends. Don't be jealous.
Can be used for:
Five Spice Apple Butter
(about 2 pints)
3 lbs. apples, all but one peeled, all cored, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon chinese five spice (cassia cinnamon, cloves, star anise, anise seed, and ginger)
2 one pint jars, lids, and rings
In a large pan, cook apples and cider over a low heat until soft. about 20 minutes.
Using a food mill, blender, food processor, etc, puree the apples. Measure the amount of puree and add half as much brown sugar. Add the five spice powder. Return to the pan and cook over a low heat, uncovered, until thick and bubbly, roughtly one and a half hours. Stir occasionally.
Preheat oven to 200.
Place jars, lids, and rings, on a cookie sheet in the oven for 10 minutes to sterilize. When ready remove from oven and pour hot butter into the jars, tightly sealing with lids and rings. Invert (lid side down) on the countertop and leave to rest for at least one hour (this will seal the jars). Flip right side up and store in a dark cool cupboard or pantry. Refrigerate after opening.