Saturday, November 16, 2013

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Butter

Here it is the middle of November.  Hard to believe 2013 is coming to an end.  I love all the seasons up here in the northland.  Every season has it's wonderful produce to make delictatible recipes for your family and friends.  Apples are at their peak right now.  You have to wait until it gets really cold outside so those apples take on their wonderful tastes.
This year I decided to make some apple butter.  My co-worker told me that she had a wonderful crock pot apple butter recipe.  I took her recipe and also looked on Pinterest to see if there were any other recipes that incorporated cranberries. I found one here.  I put both recipes together and came up with a very yummy apple butter. I bought some of those wonderful apples and I had some left over cranberries from my Cranberry Orange Bread with Yogurt and decided to add them to the apple butter to give it a 
little different taste.
All I can say is....Yummy!  Apple butter brings me back to when I was a little girl.  I use to love spreading it on toast and I still do... I do hope you enjoy this wonderful treat from my kitchen.

Slow Cooker Apple Cranberry Butter
4 - 5 pounds apples (your choice) - don't peel
1-2 cups cranberries
1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
1 cup maple syrup
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsps. vanilla extract

  1. Core and chop apples; do not peel
  2. Place apples, cranberries, cranberry juice in slow cooker. 
  3. Cover and cook on high for about 4-5 hours.
  4. Puree in sieve, food mill, food processor or and immersion blender.
  5. Return mixture to crock pot and add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and vanilla.
  6. Cover and cook on high for 1 to 2 hours

Now it's time to pack this wonderful apple butter.  I decided to can the apple butter for gifts for Christmas.  It made 12 jelly jars of apple butter.  If you have never canned anything before, this might be the time to learn.  It's very easy...

Purchase jelly jars at the grocery store.  Wash them good and then sterilize.  I actually put them in the dishwasher and run a complete cycle. Make sure they are very clean.  Fill the jars to 1/2" of the rim.  Sterilize the bands and lids.  (Place on stove in pan with water and boil them.  Keep in water until ready to use.)  Remove lids and bands with tongs and make sure the rims of the jelly jars are very clean. Wipe them down good with paper toweling. You want to make sure their seal will be good. Also wipe down the lids. Place the lids and then the bands onto the jars. Don't over tighten.  In the meantime you should be boiling water in a canner.  When it comes to a full boil, turn it down a little bit and place your jars in the water bath.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes.  Turn off stove and remove jars from water bath.  Place the jars on a clean towel on your counter and wait for the wonderful sound of the lids popping.  Your jars are sealed when they pop and the lid has indented in the middle.  Let them cool and place in your pantry for presents for the family or for you. 

Here's a video from Youtube that might help the novice with canning...
Canning 101

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cranberry Orange Yogurt Bread...A Christmas Favorite!

Cranberry Orange Bread with Homemade Yogurt
With Halloween over, it's time to start getting the Christmas goody list together. I love to bake at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I tend to concentrate on desserts for Thanksgiving and then the next week it's time to start baking all those gooey, ooey goodies for Christmas.  This year I'm starting with Cranberry Orange bread.  I went to a Cranberry Festival in Wisconsin in October and purchased a huge bag of fresh cranberries.  I love those little gems.  I already have made 30 small loaves of cranberry bread for gifts for Christmas.  They're in the freezer wrapped to protect them from frost burn and awaiting the time when they will be part of our Christmas gift giving for friends and family.  
This year I tried a new recipe.  It called for yogurt instead of oil or butter.  Because I was making so many loaves, it would have cost a fortune for the yogurt.  So, a friend of mine at work gave me a recipe for home-made yogurt.  I had tried this recipe before and absolutely loved it.  I like plain vanilla yogurt and this recipe makes a lot of yogurt.  I'm including this recipe along with the cranberry bread recipe.  
I do hope you have a chance to try both of them....the bread turned out great with not a whole lot of money spent!  Now there's money left over to buy those little grandchildren a little something extra... 

Cranberry Orange Bread
3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (opt)
2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
3/4 c. orange juice
1 T. orange zest
1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  2. Whisk together yogurt, sugar, egg, and orange juice in a large bowl. Sit in the flour mixture and then stir in the orange zest, cranberries, and walnuts.
  3. Scrape into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  4. Cool 10 minutes, then invert on a wire rack. Flip over and cool. Slice and Serve.
Home-made French Vanilla Yogurt

1 gallon whole milk (I purchased a gallon for $1.38 in a plastic bag)
3 T. yogurt (I purchased Yoplait single serving French Vanilla)
2 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  1. Boil milk on high (watch it so it doesn't boil over). Take off heat and mix in vanilla and sugar...leave it alone until it's room temperature (90 minutes).
  2. Whisk 1 cup mix with 3 T. yogurt starter (Yoplait single serve French Vanilla); then mix with remaining boiled milk.  Fill four + glass quart sized jars (sterilized) and put on (sterilized) lids. Place into a cooler. Dump 16 cups (1 gallon) warm water into a cooler.  Close the lid and walk away for 4-6 hours.  Finished product will be thicker after refrigerating.
  3. Refrigerate for up to 6 weeks.  

You can use this yogurt in everything.  It's wonderful with fruit and cereal, or just plain.  This recipe was a great find... Thank you Rachel!!!