My mom is really big on gift-giving. It is how she expresses love for her family and friends, her “love language”. Every Christmas while I was growing up, we made plates of cookies to take to our friends and neighbors for Christmas. Now that she has fewer helpers at home, my mom usually resorts to store-bought blankets, candles, or flower arrangements, but the tradition of homemade holiday gifts for friends and neighbors is one I have decided to continue with my children. Now, I love candies and cookies as much as the next person–probably more than most–but even I get a little burned out on sweets by the time Christmas finally rolls around. So, instead of plates of sugar cookies and ginger snaps, we decided to give homemade apple butter and cinnamon-raisin-vanilla english muffins last year (OK, the english muffins were from Costco, but I digress).
I remember loving apple butter as a child. If you have never had the pleasure of eating it, it basically tastes like spreadable apple cider. You mix applesauce–homemade or store-bought–with warm, fragrant spices, and cook it down until it forms the most delicious condiment in the world.
Click HERE for the recipe. The only changes I made were to add a few granny smith apples to the mix. While they are not recommended for applesauce, their tartness adds an amazing flavor to the apple butter. Without them, it tastes a little flat.