While any semisweet apple will work, I chose Gala apples because they have a good texture when baked and don’t require a lot of additional sugar. If Gala apples aren’t available, McIntosh, Cortland or Jonathan apples are good alternatives. Apple butter is a childhood favorite of mine. It's made from my favorite fall fruit mixed with a little bit of sugar and spice and is the perfect topping to a nice golden brown piece of toast. Kick it up a notch and spread it on Cheddar cheese bread. You can also try adding it to a bowl of vanilla ice cream, with a drizzle of caramel. It’s like an easy version of apple pie. Slow roasting the apples evaporates any excess moisture and allows for a concentrated apple flavor, so that when the mixture is blended it is thick and flavorful.
Apple butter makes a great homemade hostess gift - just add it to a mason jar with a pretty bow and a little label. It’s personal and easy to bring to someone in a pinch. Never show up to a party empty-handed!
6 pounds Gala apples, peeled, quartered and seeded
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 375º. Spread the apples in a single layer on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Bake, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally, until the apples are deep amber color and caramelized, about 3 hours.
Let the apples cool, then add to a blender with the cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Pulse until the mixture is pureed and smooth.
Remove to an airtight container and store refrigerated. Apple butter can be stored for up to 1 month.
Makes about 3 cups.