The leaves are falling, the pumpkins are being made, and there's a crock of apple butter in the slow cooker. Can you think of anything more perfect?
If you haven't guessed, we're suckers for fall and the delicious treats that come with it. Apple butter is one of them. You can start making apple butter with a blend of sweet and tart apple varieties, like Granny Smiths, Winesaps, and McIntoshes, and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. You'll also want to add a touch of sweetener and an acid to ensure your condiment lasts a while. After your apples have cooked down for several hours in the Instant Pot or slow cooker, you can use an immersion blender to purée the apples into a texture that's a tad thicker than applesauce. Or, of course, just buy a jar of apple butter at the store.
We love apple butter because it has a slight caramel flavor from cooking the apples down. When paired with the spices and the sweetener, this condiment truly tastes like apple pie in a jar. Here are some of our favorite sweet and savory ways to use apple butter.
Smother Your Pork Chops
Pork chops tend to run a bit dry and flavorless. If you want to upgrade your date night dinner, try adding apple butter for a boost of flavor and moisture. The mild cinnamon flavor in the apple butter will help elevate the other savory seasonings in your dish and mesh well with other additions like whole grain or Dijon mustard, vinegar, and cider.
You'll want to opt for unsweetened apple butter for this recipe so it will give you the apple flavor without making your chops lean too far on the sweet side. You can also add a splash of apple cider to help round out the apple flavor and make your sauce a bit more liquidy so it will spread better across your chops.
Use It To Candy Bacon
Not only is bacon delicious, but so is its candied counterpart. And don't let the word "candy" scare you; this recipe only takes a few simple ingredients to make the candied bacon of your dreams.
Start with thick-cut bacon and a seasoning mixture of apple butter and maple syrup. The maple syrup will add a touch of sweetness and contribute to the candied aspect. In addition, you can also add a bit of hot sauce if you want a more explosive flavor in your recipe. Place your strips of bacon on a wire rack above a lined baking sheet. Par-cook the bacon on the sheet before adding more sauce to the bacon and baking on both sides. Cool the bacon completely before snacking.
Add It To Your Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls are a special treat, and they're made even more special with the addition of an apple butter filling. This ingredient comes in when you mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon; you won't even need to add any extra butter to ensure you can spread the filling in the rolls.
Your apple butter cinnamon rolls will taste especially delicious when topped with a decadent cream cheese glaze. You can also boost the apple flavor by adding par-cooked, seasoned apple pieces to the filling before rolling it up into a log. It's essential to cut these apples into tiny pieces and to cook them enough beforehand so you won't have to worry about raw apples in your pastry.
Use It As A Sandwich Spread
Apple butter has similar properties to a thick jam or preserve, so it can be used in similar ways. We love putting this sweet apple spread on everything from a morning piece of toast to an upgraded sandwich.
One of the sandwiches where apple butter really shines is a grilled cheese. When meshed with mild cheddar cheese flavor, the apple butter elevates the savory-sweet dichotomy of the sandwich and rounds out the flavor notes. It also amps up the flavor of ham and Dijon mustard, which makes apple butter a welcomed upgrade for a ham melt. You can make these sandwiches on potato roll sliders and serve them at your next tailgate or game-day spread or for a simple lunch during the week.
Add It To Your Cake Recipe
We're always looking for new ways to upgrade our homemade cake recipes. Not only does the apple butter bring an element of moisture to cakes, but it also adds a subtle autumnal flavor that rounds out the recipe.
If you want to keep things simple, make an apple butter cake by adding apple butter along with the wet ingredients in your cake recipe. It's best to use room-temperature apple butter for this recipe so it combines a bit more easily than a bottle straight out of the fridge. The apple butter cake is best when combined with a thick coating of vanilla bean frosting. For a bit more intense apple flavor, consider using apple butter as a filling in a layer cake. You'll need about a cup of the spread for each layer to ensure that every bite is apple-forward.
Flavor Your Spare Ribs
Spare ribs are well known for their fall-off-the-bone texture and finger-licking sauce on top. If you want to amp up the flavor of your spare ribs and impart a mild, sweet taste, try adding apple butter to your homemade sauce.
You can make this recipe in your slow cooker, which is ideal for a hands-off meal option. Schmear your spare ribs with a mixture of barbecue sauce and apple butter, and allow the ribs to cook with onion pieces for several hours. Once that time has elapsed, you'll be rewarded with a sticky rib that will blow any other appetizer you could make out of the park. Serve your apple butter spare ribs with a side of mashed potatoes or on their own.
Amp Up Your Pancakes Or Waffles
There's no breakfast quite like pancakes or waffles. But you might find that your favorite Sunday breakfast is, well ... lacking. If you want to supercharge your pancake and waffle batter with autumnal flavor, try adding a bit of apple butter before you pop them on the iron or the griddle.
Although there are some warming spices in the apple butter, you should also add a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon to the dry ingredients to round out the flavor. Add the apple butter with the rest of the wet ingredients and stir until well combined. It's important to note that this ingredient will darken the batter, so it won't be any easier to tell if the pancakes or waffles are done. Once your breakfast is finished cooking, top it with another swipe of apple butter, chopped pecans, and maple syrup.
Swirl It Into Cheesecake
There are so many different types of cheesecake; just one look at The Cheesecake Factory dessert menu may stun your brain. If you're making an autumnal cheesecake, ditch the pumpkin for apple butter.
You can make a no-bake dessert variation by swirling the apple butter into the cream cheese filling. The apple butter will complement the cinnamon-seasoned graham cracker crumbs in the crust. You can also get creative and substitute the graham cracker pieces with crumbled snickerdoodle or ginger cookies. If you're baking the cheesecake, you should try to swirl the apple butter into the cheesecake filling before baking it, while also adding a layer of the apple butter on top. Garnish your cheesecake with cinnamon-spiced apples or a whipped cream topping.
Make Autumnal Cookies With Cinnamon And Cloves
Cookies are a delicious and portable treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. Rather than sticking to the same old chocolate chip or gingersnap cookies, try making a warm-spiced apple butter cookie. Apple butter cookies tend to have a soft snickerdoodle cookie's buttery, plush texture. You'll want to add the apple butter to the cookie dough when you cream the butter together with the sugar. The mixture will be able to hold onto the air in the dough, which will give these cookies their distinguishable texture and soft crumb. In order to keep the same snickerdoodle flavor, you should also plan to add a scant amount of cream of tartar to the dough.
Another type of cookie to add apple butter to is a sandwich cookie or a jam thumbprint. You'll want to add the apple butter to the center well of the cookies before baking.
Use It As A Base For Your Apple Bellini
Bellinis and mimosas are merely opportunities to drink alcohol before 10 a.m. A Bellini with apple butter is the perfect recipe to make for a cool fall morning before going out to the pumpkin patch.
To make these seasonal beverages, add a tablespoon of apple butter to the bottom of the champagne flute and pour in a few ounces of prosecco. Give your beverage a quick stir and garnish with cinnamon before serving. If you're looking for a non-alcoholic option, you can always substitute the prosecco with ginger ale or sparkling cider. You can also make your drink extra special by dusting the rim of the glass with cinnamon sugar and adding an orange wedge garnish on top of the glass.
Spread It On Your Morning Bowl Of Oatmeal
We're always looking for simple ways to upgrade our favorite morning bowl of oatmeal. Apple butter is the perfect fruity addition to oatmeal because it is brimming with sweet cinnamon flavor and pairs well with sliced pieces of apple mixed in. For the most profound apple flavor, mix the apple butter with your milk of choice and additional spices as your oatmeal is cooking down. The apple butter will thicken the mixture and infuse an apple flavor throughout the grains.
You can also add a spoonful of apple butter to the top of your oatmeal after it's done cooking. Other toppings that mesh well with this autumnal profile include walnuts and pecans as well as an additional drizzle of maple syrup.
Use It As A Spread On Fruity Pizza
When you think of pizza, the picture of an Italian pie smothered with bright red tomato sauce, gooey cheese, and traditional toppings like pepperoni, sausage, and peppers probably comes to mind. Adding apple butter to your pizza is a welcome change and will quickly transport your pie into dessert territory.
Coat your rolled dough with a thick layer of apple butter to make an apple butter dessert pizza. If you're only comfortable sticking with other sweet toppings, you should consider adding thinly sliced apples and chopped nuts to your pizza after it's finished baking. You can also play with the savory flavors and add toppings like fresh peppery arugula, gorgonzola cheese, and sharp cheddar. You might not be able to go back to your standard slice again.
Adorn Your Charcuterie Board With The Spread
A charcuterie board is familiar territory for apple butter. These meat and cheese boards often feature jams or preserves to spread on the crackers and curb the sharp flavors of the cheese and overwhelming savory notes of the meat. You should use more apple butter on your snacking board because it brings a harmony to the flavors and a fall undertone, which can be easily complemented with other components. You can serve your apple butter in a small container on the board and watch as your guests pair the apple topping with an array of nuts, crackers, and cheeses.
There are numerous pairings for apple butter on a charcuterie board. Your board should feature some salty, sweet, and spicy options for a balanced board. We recommend adding some rosemary and fig crackers or multigrain ones to provide a unique crunch. You may even include pieces of sliced apples and some crisp, cold grapes.
Use It As A Sweetener For Baked Beans
Baked beans are a classic side dish for summer cookouts and tailgates. If you want to add some sweetness to your baked bean recipe, consider adding some apple butter to the mixture. The recipe is a riff on Midwestern apple pie baked beans, which traditionally includes apple pie filling as a sweetener. Instead, the variation with the apple butter has an extra boost from the fruity spread, chopped apples, onions, and cooked bacon. You can plop these ingredients into a slow cooker or stock pot with a can of plain baked beans and allow the flavors to meld together over a few hours. You can also play with some diverse flavors, like Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, or extra cinnamon.
Mix It Into Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is delicious any time of year, and it's even better when complemented with apple butter. This ingredient adds a little bit of sweetness to your pulled pork that enhances the brown sugar notes and the tanginess of a good barbecue sauce.
You're going to want to add the apple butter to the slow cooker with your other pulled pork ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, spicy mustard, and honey. Be sure to save some of your extra sauce for serving and cover the pork shoulder roast with the rest. If you want to infuse more apple flavor into your meat, try adding an extra dose of apple cider. We love that this dish will keep for several days in the fridge, so you can enjoy your recipe for lunch or repurpose it for something else, like an upgraded macaroni and cheese.
Add It To Seasonal Punch
If you're hosting a Halloween get-together, you have to have punch available for guests to drink. You can take your Halloween punch to the next level with apple butter. The mild caramel flavor is the perfect accompaniment to a refreshing punch. You'll need about a ½ cup of apple butter to make enough punch for eight people, served hot or cold.
If you're opting for a warm variety, mix the apple butter with cider and warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Or, you can add a splash of orange bitters or alcohol like vodka or rum. If you're going with a cold punch, add ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, and honey to a pitcher with your apple butter. Garnish your punch with slices of apples and some ice cubes.
Use It As A Filling For Your Danishes
Danishes are a delicious, flaky pastry that you can enjoy with your breakfast. But the treat's tastiness doesn't always justify how difficult it is to make at home. You have to work with delicate puff pastry dough (hint — buy it from the freezer section) and make it perfectly for the characteristic golden hue.
To make a delicious Danish at home, you'll need to enlist the help of apple butter. It's sweet, thick, and the perfect accompaniment for an autumnal pastry. After you've rolled and sliced your puff pastry into your desired Danish shape, spoon in the apple butter filling or enlist the help of a cream cheese filling too. After you've added the egg wash, place the pastry in the fridge to keep the fat cold before baking in a hot oven.
Mix It Into Your Muffins Or Quick Bread
Apple muffins are the sweet start to your morning that you need. There are variations on this traditional chemically leavened recipe, which can be transformed into a loaf pan by adapting the baking time and vessel. If you want to make your apple muffins shine, try adding a scoop of homemade or store-bought apple butter to the batter.
The apple butter serves several different purposes in this recipe, including adding moisture and providing some fall undertones. It's a relatively forgiving recipe, so you can throw it together with chunks of your favorite baking apples and another textural addition, like oatmeal or bran. Since these ingredients may change the color of your bake, it's best to stick them with a wooden toothpick to ensure the batter is completely baked rather than relying on color alone.
Whip Up A Quick Chutney
Chutney is a unique fruity ingredient that pairs well with an array of savory dishes. This spread is traditionally made with fruit and savory ingredients like mustard, vinegar, and garlic, served fresh or preserved with meats. You can give your chutney a deep apple flavor by using apple butter as a base. You can substitute this apple butter chutney for other chutneys; it pairs especially well with chicken and pork. You can also serve it as a dip for samosas.
To make this recipe at home, combine unsweetened (this is important) apple butter with ingredients like fennel, coriander, black pepper, chili powder, and an acidic ingredient like apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Stir it together, and serve with your favorite Indian recipes.
Use It As A Sundae Topping
We're always on the hunt for creative ice cream toppings, and apple butter is certainly one of them. We're ditching the peanut butter and the hot fudge for this fruity spread, which pairs well with toppings like chopped walnuts, caramel sauce, crushed graham crackers, or candied pecans. Since the apple butter essentially tastes like apple pie in a jar, you can use it on many different ice cream bases, including classic vanilla, salted caramel, maple walnut, and pumpkin pie.
You don't just have to put apple butter on your ice cream; you can swirl it into the cream in your homemade version, too! Swirl in your apple butter and complementary add-ins like caramel sauce after the ice cream is finished churning. You'll get a subtle, sweet apple flavor in every bite.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.