This post could also be called “Applesauce Part II: if you forgot to ever stop cooking your applesauce.” There are definitely more involved ways to cook apple butter, but it really just boils down (ha) to applesauce cooked for a really long time. You can add spices and sugar and vanilla and cider and all kinds of things, but you can seriously take an applesauce you love and cook it down and you’ll have some pretty high-quality apple butter.
For my version, I took the apples from last week’s applesauce and instead of putting them through the food mill, I dumped them in the crock pot. You can alternatively cook it slowly on the stove, or even in a baking dish in the oven, but I’m a fan of hands-off cooking whenever it’s possible so I took the slow cooker option.
The amount of sugar you add is up to your taste and to your apples. Once my full crock pot of apples cooked down to about half, I smoothed it out with an immersion blender and added sugar to taste. In my case it was about 1.5 cups, but it still wasn’t overly sweet.
After the blending and sugar, keep cooking down until the apple butter is dark, thick and spreadable. Process in small jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.