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Winter is in full-swing here in the Northeast.  When the weather is c-c-cold, there is nothing more comforting to me than scooting around in my kitchen in my thick fuzzy socks, listening to holiday music, and baking or cooking something… anything.  The oven keeps me toasty.

Lately, I’ve been whipping up batches of homemade Apple Butter.  Apples are 50% off at my local farmers market this time of year, so I brought home a bushel of them — all different kinds.

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Some I’ll save for my family’s favorite — my Apple Pie from scratch.  But, most of these juicy fruits will become Apple Butter, canned and given away.  Tied with a little bow, these jars of homemade “butter” make great gifts for bus drivers, teachers, the mailman, etc.

Making Apple Butter is ridiculously easy.  Here are a few of my favorite recipes:

Oh She Glows ~ Naked Apple Butter

Teacher-Chef ~ Pumpkin Apple Butter

Baked By Rachel ~ Cinnamon Apple Butter

While I change up the recipes a bit, those are my go-to’s.  I have my own ‘process’ for each batch of apple butter, though.

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I always like to peel them — Dear Santa, I’d love an apple peeler for Christmas this year! — because I hate to dig out the slimy skins.  Then I toss them in the crock pot on low for hours.  I just check it every so often.  (The aroma in my house is simply divine!)

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Once the apples are thoroughly cooked, I have found that if I swirl them through the magic bullet for just a few seconds, it becomes this thick, creamy delicacy.

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Seal it in a canning jar, with a sweet little note and shimmery-ribbon bow and… Viola! You’ve got a thoughtful little gift to give.

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