8 large, firm apples (such as Gala, Fuji, or Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and chopped
3 cups apple cider
2½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1. In a large stockpot over medium-low heat, combine the apples and cider. Cook for 4 to 6 hours, stirring often, until apples are very soft and mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cooled apple mixture until smooth.
2. Return mixture to stockpot over medium-high heat, and add the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, allspice, and cloves. Cover, and cook for 2 hours, stirring often. Remove lid, and continue cooking until mixture is thick, approximately 2 more hours.
3. Wash jars, lids, and screw bands in hot soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands. Put jars and lids in a deep stockpot, and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Heat water until an instant-read thermometer registers 180°. Do not let boil. Keep jars submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.
4. Remove sterilized jars one by one; spoon apple mixture into jars, filling to ¼ inch from the top. Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean, damp towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands.
5. Return jars to stockpot, and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring water in stockpot to a boil, and boil the filled jars for 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer jars to a towel-lined surface to cool.
6. After jars have cooled for 12 to 24 hours, press the center of each lid to check that it’s concave, then remove screw band and try to gently lift off lid with your fingertips. If you can’t, the lid has a good seal. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.
This Brown Sugar Apple Butter is delicious atop any baked treat, and is a sweet gift to delight friends and neighbors with this season.