Our apple tree is overloaded this year. When it bloomed this past spring, the blooms came and went much faster than usual. At the time, I remember wondering what that meant and assumed we wouldn’t have many apples this year. Goodness, was I wrong. All that abundance means a large batch of maple apple butter was made.
This lightly sweet and spiced preserve is perfect on toast or pancakes. Heck, it even makes a delicious dessert topping for ice cream or pound cake. It will also make a great gift, so don’t be shy in making a big batch or several.
Many apple butter recipes have an incredible amount of sugar in my experience. That sugar and large amount of spice end up robbing the final result of actual apple flavor in my opinion. This recipe uses a small quantity of maple syrup for sweetening and depth of flavor. The additional apple juice also helps with sweetening. There is some spice here but it is more an accent to the apple flavor rather than the dominant taste.
Cooking this down in the slow cooker saves some hands-on work. You could do it on the stovetop but stir that quite often (almost constantly) to avoid scorching. The house will smell amazing while the butter cooks down.
As the apples get pureed, I don’t peel them. A person could peel, if they’re so inclined but skipping the step saves time and energy. This recipe is for a very large batch (you will need at least a 5-quart slow cooker – larger even better) cutting it in half will work just fine for smaller slow cookers.
Try as I might, I could not find a tested & approved apple butter recipe that included maple syrup. I saw different variations posted on other recipe sites and blogs but nothing by my usual trusted sources. To that end, I decided to can this as if it were applesauce not apple butter. Normally, apple butters are canned as a jam or jelly – meaning about 10 minutes but they usually have a lot of sugar. As this recipe is light on sugar and applesauce can be canned without sugar at all, I processed it as if it were applesauce (15 minutes, adjusting for elevation).
Maple Apple Butter
- 10 Pounds Apples, cored & quartered
- 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Cups Apple Juice
- 1 Cup Maple Syrup
- 4 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Allspice
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
- In a heavy bottomed stock pot, combine the apples, lemon juice and water. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Cook until apples are soft (about 20 minutes) stirring occasionally.
- Puree the apple mixture in a blender (or with a stick blender).
- Pour the pureed applesauce into a slow cooker. Add the maple syrup, apple juice, and spices. Stir well.
- Turn the slow cooker onto high and leave the lid off. Cook until the mixture is thick, it should mound up onto a spoon. Actual time will vary based on apples, slow cooker, etc. but figure at least 4 hours, potentially 6 hours.
- Prepare a water bath canner, jars, and lids.
- Pour the hot apple butter into hot jars, leaving 1/2 headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe rims, place lids and rings.
- Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes (adjusting for elevation).
Makes 7 pint jars