Hey look, it’s more apple recipes! Have you had enough yet? I promise to cool it with the apples after this, but I just had to share these easy and delicious recipes since apple season is almost over. Thankfully apples are available year round, but they don’t seem to taste quite as good as they do in the fall.
The great thing about this is that it’s two recipes in one. Start with 5 pounds of apples and you can make both applesauce and apple butter in the span of about 2 hours (less than 30 minutes of which is actual hands on time). I honestly couldn’t believe how simple it was.
I always figured making homemade applesauce was easy, but my laziness won out in the end. After trying this recipe, I feel really dumb because this applesauce literally takes 30 minutes to make. 30 minutes! And most of that time is simmering on the stove, so in reality it only takes about 10 minutes of actual work. That is pretty much the definition of a lazy-proof recipe. I usually spend $3-4 a pop for those little cups of applesauce that last me less than a week. Never again!
I love maple syrup and it’s a much healthier, nutrient-rich alternative to sugar so I subbed it for the sugar in the original recipe. The maple flavor is subtle but I wanted the apples to be front and center and I didn’t want it to be overly sweet. You can easily add more syrup or brown sugar to sweeten it to your tastes.
Even though I assumed applesauce would be simple to make, I figured that apple butter would be a lot more complicated so I’ve never even thought to attempt it before. But you know what? It turns out that apple butter IS applesauce. It’s just been cooked longer! As the applesauce cooks down the natural sweetness of the apples and the maple syrup intensifies so it becomes sweeter and more delicious the longer you cook it.
This apple butter tastes great slathered on just about anything, but it’s especially good on those apple cinnamon biscuits I posted last week. The recipe only makes about one and half cups of apple butter, which is fine in the fridge for up to a month so I didn’t bother canning it. One of these days I’m going to teach myself how to preserve things, but I’m not there yet. If you’re interested in canning the apple butter, follow the link to the original recipe for full instructions.
This applesauce is very lightly sweetened in order to really let the natural sweetness of the apples shine. You can add some brown sugar if you prefer a sweeter applesauce.
Snack, Dessert | Yield: about 6 cups
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 30 min | Total time: 45 min
- 3 to 4 lbs peeled, cored, and quartered apples*
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 strips of lemon peel**
- Juice of 1 small/medium lemon (about 2-3 tbsp.)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Optional: 2-4 tbsp. dark brown sugar
*I started with about 5 lbs. of apples, but it was about 4 lbs. once they were peel and cored. According to this site Fuji and Gala make the best applesauce but other good ones are Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Jonathan or Mcintosh. I’ve tried it with combinations of Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths. The apples don’t have to be peeled, but they’ll need to be cooked a bit longer to soften then peels and you’ll need to puree the applesauce to break everything up.
**The easiest way to make the strips is to use a vegetable peeler.
- Place the apples, water, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon peel, cinnamon stick and salt in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil. Decrease heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until apples are tender.
- Remove from the stove and fish out the cinnamon stick and lemon peels. (If you’re making apple butter right after this, reserve the cinnamon stick for that.) Use a potato masher to mash the apples until chunky.
- Taste the applesauce and stir in the additional brown sugar if you want to make it sweeter. Simmer about 10 minutes more to incorporate the sugar.
If you want a smoother consistency (like store-bought), transfer to a blender or food processor to puree. Serve warm or cold. Can be frozen for up to a year.
Maple Apple Butter
Condiment, Sauce | Yield: 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 45 min | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 2 hours
- 3 cups Maple Applesauce
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- Add the maple applesauce and cinnamon stick to a large stainless steel saucepan.
- Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add maple syrup and cook on low/medium-low heat for another 30-45 minutes or until the the mixture is thick and has darkened in color.
- Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes. Use a food processor or handheld blender to puree until the apple butter is smooth. It will lighten to a lovely caramel color as you process it.
Spread on bread or toast, mix into yogurt or oatmeal or just eat it by the spoonful! Store in an airtight container in the the fridge for up to a month.