Apple butter
David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS

Having grown up in the South, I could not agree with a statement I read recently that said, “apples cannot be grown in the South.” After thinking about this, I realized that perhaps the person making this statement was thinking of those “beautiful” apples you buy at the supermarket, because I agree that the apples grown in the South are a little rough around the edges.

They might not look pretty, but they taste good. Southerners like apples in any form: fresh, dried or in a canned apple pie filling.

One of the best ways of using the Southern variety is in apple butter. I started making apple butter years ago. It is so good spread on toast or hot buttered biscuits. If you have a good apple cake recipe using apple sauce, try it with apple butter.

I like to make my apple butter in the slow cooker. You will notice from the following recipe that I don’t use much cinnamon in my apple butter, because I want to be able to taste the apples. I want “apple” butter, not “cinnamon” butter.

A jar of homemade apple butter makes a wonderful gift, so I like to keep some on hand.

Apple cake and apple pies are favorites at our house, but apples are also a great addition to coffeecake, such as the following Apple Bran Coffeecake.

SLOW COOKER APPLE BUTTER

  • 1 (3 pound) bag apples, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Put apples in a slow cooker. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top of apples. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add vinegar and stir. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for several hours until apples are the consistency of applesauce. Any large pieces of apples can be mashed with a potato masher or fork. Continue cooking to thicken slightly. Spoon into jars and seal immediately.

APPLE BRAN COFFEECAKE

  • ½ cup All-Bran cereal
  • 1 cup butterscotch morsels
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder    
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup peeled and grated Red Delicious apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, combine cereal and butterscotch morsels. Process until fine but not powdery. Remove blade and stir in pecans. Reserve ¾ cup of this mixture. In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, eggs, butter and sour cream. Mix well. Stir in apples and cereal mixture (except reserved ¾ cup). Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle reserved cereal mixture over top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of coffeecake. Cool about 10 minutes on cake rack. Drizzle with glaze (recipe follows).

Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine and mix until blended. Drizzle over coffeecake.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at prudencehilburn@aol.com.