Cranberry Apple Butter

I love the concentrated flavor and smooth consistency of apple butter, but I don’t love the ludicrous amount of sugar called for in most recipes. There is an unsweetened commercial brand (available at Whole Foods) that has become a staple in my kitchen, but I was determined to make a no-sugar-added homemade version – with the added tart bite of fresh cranberries.

The consistency of my homemade version is spot-on; which is to say thick, smooth, and luscious. I love the added tang from the cranberries, not to mention the gorgeous color imparted by the seasonal and locally-grown red berries.

With plenty of warm spices, extra apple flavor from cider, a hint of maple, and both a reddish hue and tart bite from the cranberries, this season-appropriate Cranberry Apple Butter is utterly delicious. I’ve been enjoying it spread on toast & peanut butter sandwiches, stirred into yogurt, spooned atop oatmeal, and drizzled over pancakes & waffles… but you could also add this fruit butter to savory foods. A dollop on top of baked sweet potatoes or roasted pork tenderloin would make for a great flavor pairing; I’ve also been thinking of serving it with cheese and crackers for a holiday gathering.

Cranberry Apple  Butter

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peeled, cored, and diced baking apples, about 4 small, 3 medium, or 2 large (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp pure maple extract (or pure vanilla extract)

Directions:

  1. Combine the diced apples, cranberries, and cider in a medium-sized dutch oven or saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the apples and cranberries break down, stirring occasionally.
  2. Puree mixture using either an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor.
  3. Return apple puree to dutch oven or saucepan, and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apple cranberry butter has thickened and smells absolutely divine.
  4. Puree mixture again, and let cool to room temperature before storing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

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