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
- 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)
- 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.
- Puree mixture using either an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor.
- 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.
- Puree mixture again, and let cool to room temperature before storing in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.