4 lbs apples, cored and chopped (choose a sweeter variety such as empire, fuji, or gala)
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
1 split vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 cup apple juice or cider
1 cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
place all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours until apples are very soft and falling apart.
remove cinnamon sticks and vanilla bean.
Transfer apples and juices to high powered blender or food processor, make sure to work in batches and do not overfill or you will risk burning yourself once you start blending.
Blend until you have a nice, smooth consistency. I really let it go because I prefer a very smooth apple butter.
Once it is all blended, return to slow cooker and cook another 2-4 hours uncovered, stirring occasionally until you have a thick, jam like texture. It will firm up more after chilling as well.
transfer apple butter to jars or containers of your choice. I chose 6 8 ounce jars.
no need to peel the apples! The skin adds a nice color to the apple butter and once they cook for so long and are blended, you will not notice any texture.
Add a splash of vanilla at the end of cooking if you don’t have a vanilla bean.