I think the best part about making this sugar-free maple cinnamon apple butter is that your entire house will smell like fall, which also kind of makes it the hardest part. Because I may or may not have gotten up in the middle of the night to “check on the apple butter” a.k.a spoon it into my mouth.
So while the recipe made less than two cups for me, you’ll probably get at least two cups worth of apple butter unless you, too, can’t resist a midnight taste tasting session (no judgment here).
This was the first recipe I decided to make using our new slow cooker—a kitchen tool I haven’t used in years. You see, when we moved from Ohio to California in 2012, we had to streamline our kitchen appliances (along with the rest of our belongings) since we downsized from an adorable 1920s craftsman-style home to a tiny two-bedroom apartment.
One of the things we decided we could live without was our bulky slow cooker, which we rarely used anyway. We also had to leave behind my beloved Cusinart Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine, which I did not want to live without (in fact I still tear up just thinking about it), but I’m surviving.
Anyway, a month or so ago, I asked you lovely readers what kind of healthy recipes you wanted to see and more than a few of you said “simple slow cooker recipes.” And, as I’ve said before, I’m here to serve—seriously—so if it’s healthy slow cooker recipes you want, well it’s healthy slow cooker recipes you shall get!
Of course it you’re not into slow cookers (or if you don’t have one), fear not. This isn’t going to turn into a slow cooker blog. But I am excited to experiment with my new toy and share some effortless recipes that will make eating healthy a little bit easier for you all.
Since it has been a while since I’ve used a slow cooker, I decided to take it slow (I know that was lame but also too easy) and start with a simple fall classic—apple butter!
APPLE BUTTER = FALL IN A JAR
Apple butter is one of my favorite spreads second only to almond butter and OK coconut butter, too. The only problem is that most, if not all, of the apple butters I’ve seen are full of added sugar, which is probably my biggest pet peeve when it comes to the food industry.
It’s like, WHY.
WHY do you have to add sugar to literally everything?
Answer: You don’t!
It really does make me so mad but I’m going to stay off my sugar-hating soap box (for now) and focus on the positive—I can prep my very own sugar-free apple butter in less than 5 minutes. Granted the cooking process takes 12 hours but thanks to my slow cooker, it totally hands off cooking, which is my favorite kind of cooking.
To make this apple butter even easier, I went ahead and started with high quality store-bought organic, unsweetened applesauce instead of using whole apples. Granted it meant forgoing the ability to choose the specific type of apples, but I was cool with it given it saved time coring or chopping apples and another 6-8 hours of slow cooking.
Is that cheating?
I’d prefer to think of it as a health hack.
PEACE OUT SUGAR
This apple butter is still super sweet but uses little more than a tablespoon of pure maple syrup in the whole batch. High five!
It goes great on toast, pancakes, waffles, stirred into porridge, dolloped on a smoothie bowl, smeared over pork tenderloin or beef, or used to make a fall-inspired salad dressing. It’s also really good straight up on a spoon.
That said, none of those are how I prefer to eat apple butter. Come back next Tuesday when I’ll be posting a recipe highlighting my absolute FAVORITE way to eat it. Actually, I maaaaaay be willing to share it Friday, although I had a different post in mind. Let me know in the comments if you want to see the recipe OR a post on tips for accommodating guests with food allergies.
Your choice. I mean do I love you guys or what?!
ALL the feelings.
HOW TO MAKE SUGAR-FREE MAPLE CINNAMON APPLE BUTTER FROM APPLESAUCE
gluten free + paleo + vegan + vegetarian
Yield: approximately 2 cups | Prep Time: 2 minutes | Cook Time: 12 hours (inactive) | Special equipment: Slow cooker / crockpot
6 cups unsweetened applesauce (preferably organic since apples are on the dirty dozen list)
1 tbs grade B maple syrup
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
pinch sea salt
- Put all ingredients into slow cooker and cook on medium for 8 hours overnight.
- In the morning, stir the apple butter and remove the lid. Cook for an additional 4 hours with the lid off.
- Once the apple butter is cooked down by approximately half remove it from the slow cooker and allow it to cool.
- Once cooled, transfer to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. If you prefer it to be more textured, simply omit this step.
- That’s it!
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Have you ever made apple butter or applesauce in your slow cooker? What’s your favorite thing to cook using it? I am excited to to use ours a lot this winter!