Here’s the recipe I used for the apple butter I made in September 2011. I found it on About.com, but altered the cooking time slightly. Original recipe.
6ish pounds of cooking apples (or enough to fill your crock pot)*
2 cups apple cider or juice
*I used Wolf River apples (a special breed found only in Wisconsin; they’re like a giant Macintosh), slightly before season Empire apples, and Macintosh apples when I made the recipe. The Wolf River were 90% of the bulk of the apples used.
**I subbed in a special Chinese Cinnamon from Penzy’s Spices called “Tung Hing” for 1/4 of the total cinnamon used. It’s expensive, but the results are worth it; however, it’s far too exepnsive to use for all the cinnamon (and too strong).
If you don’t have a food strainer, peel your apples. Core and quarter apples (or use an apple coring device of your choice). Place all apples in a crock pot and pour juice/cider over them. Put the cover on and set the crock pot to low. Cook for 4 hours, or until the apples are soft and readily disintigrate when stirred (depends heavily on the crock pot and apples used).
If you have a food strainer and did not peel the apples: Let the mixture cool and spoon the apple mixture through your strainer.
If you don’t have a food strainer and peeled the apples: Let the mixture cool. Pour the apple mixture into a large bowl and beat with a whisk or electric beater until smooth.
After you have a smooth mixture, measure the apples back into the crock pot. For every 2 cups (1 pint) of apple mixture, add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Stir in the ingredients and then cover. Cook on high for 3 hours, stiring once every hour. Remove the lid and cook another 3 hours, once again stirring only once an hour.
If canning: Immediately spoon into jars and process according to your regional/elevational canning requirements.
If storing in the fridge or freezer: Allow the mixture to cool first, then spoon into airtight containers. Chill immediately.
Afterward: In tasting the first batch it became apparent that while it was good, the clove and allspice were a bit over-powering. I reduced the amounts of each to 1/4 tsp from the original recipe, which called for 1/2 tsp.