February 14, 2013
Yep, putting red hot candies in a bowl full of fresh, delicious applesauce is something that will always remind me of my grandma. When I visited my in-laws this past Christmas, my mother-in-law had a jar of homemade apple butter that one of her friends had made. I love a nice big glob of apple butter the same as anyone, but this apple butter was special.
Why? I could tell this apple butter had red hots in it. There was a hint of a little something extra that the average person might miss, but my red-hot trained taste buds picked up the trail like a red-hot loving blood-hound.
So with Valentines Day approaching, I decided to start experimenting in the kitchen and see if I couldn't come up with a delicious red-hot inspired apple butter. I love how this turned out. I used a combination of apples to boost the flavor, and a little cider vinegar to give it a great kick. The red hots really do make it just a tad more drool-worthy. This apple butter is great slathered on a piece of toast and even better whipped up in a batch of this Apple Butter Bread with Cinnamon Glaze. Mmmm.
I poured some into mini mason jars and packaged them up all purdy for V-day. Who wouldn't want a jar of this red-hot deliciousness for Valentines Day? I plan to give some away as gifts - that's the plan anyway - and if a few jars happen to find their way hidden in the back of my pantry, you won't tell...will you?
Red Hot Apple Butter
Yield: 4 jars Printable Recipe
5 lbs sweet red cooking apples (peeled and cored)
2 1/2 cups water or apple juice
2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup red hot candies
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 (1/2 pint) canning jars
Peel and core your apples. Place the apples, water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt, and red hots in your slow cooker or a large heavy bottom pot.
Cook on high for 2 hours, until
apples soften. Puree the apples until smooth. I like to use my immersion blender for easy, mess free blending. Add the 2 tbsp of cider vinegar and cook on low for another 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally until mixture becomes thick and turns dark brown.
Depending on how sweet your apples are, you may need to use more or less sugar. The general rule is 1/2 cup sugar for every 1 cup of apple sauce. If your apple butter becomes thicker than you'd like, add a little water or apple juice to thin it out as desired.
I made some mason jar labels for the lids and Valentine gift labels too. Yes, I know...I was feeling pretty crafty. Doesn't happen very often. :)
Now how about a freebie! Who doesn't love FREE stuff? I decided to share the Valentine love, and put the labels into a handy dandy PDF printable for ya.
Happy Valentines Day!
Red Hot Apple Butter Printable labels. PDF download here.
Red Hot Valentines Day printable labels. PDF download here.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also like Apple Butter Bread with Cinnamon Glaze!