You might know that the crockpot is great for cooking apples - just cut up an apple and leave the skin on, for maximum nutrition, and toss in a little brown sugar and cinammon and maybe a bit of honey and some raisins - and let it cook while you're at work.
But did you also know that you can actually make apple butter in your crockpot? The following recipe makes about four cups, with each quarter cup serving at 132 calories.
- "Cooking Light"
1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. honey
1/4 C. apple cider
1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground mace
10 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Combine all ingredients in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 10 hours or until apples are very tender.
Place a large fine-mesh sieve over a bowl; spoon one-third of apple mixture into sieve. Press mixture through sieve using the back of a spoon or ladle. Discard pulp. Repeat procedure with remaining apple mixture. Return apple mixture to slow cooker. Cook, uncovered, on high 1 hours or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a bowl; cover and chill up to a week.
A mixture of apple varieties, rather than just one type, will produce apple butter with rich, complex flavor in this slow cooker recipe. Good choices include Esopus Spitzenburg, Granny Smith, Jonathan, Northern Spy, Rome, Stayman, Winesap, and York.
Enjoy the apple butter over toast or English muffins, or serve it with pork chops or chicken.
If you're thinking ahead to Thanksgiving side dishes, you might consider this recipe from the November 2002 issue of Southern Living that features the unlikely combination of Brussels sprouts and apples.
Some cooks opt to roast the Brussels sprouts rather than boil them.
2 1/4 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 C. butter or margarine, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 C. apple juice
1 large Red Delicious apple, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1 (8-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 C. golden raisins
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
Bring brussels sprouts, lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and water to cover to a boil in a saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and keep warm.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, and sauté 15 to 20 minutes or until caramel-colored. Add apple juice, and cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned particles.
Add apple, garlic, and sugar; cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 6 minutes or until apple is tender. Add water chestnuts, next 4 ingredients, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons butter; cook, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently toss inw brussels sprouts.