Clara, my great grandmother (like all other women of the day) made much of her own jams and jellies from whatever fresh berries there were in her garden. Summer would arrive with the peaches, and there would be fresh peach preserves and pickled peaches. And, of course.. in the fall, there’d be apples and apple jelly. From the scraps of the fruit and the dregs from the jelly-making, Clara would make apple butter. From the best I can understand, Clara’s apple butter wasn’t like any other – and certainly wasn’t like anything you could buy. Mom remembers Clara working it up and forming it into butter molds. And as it set, it would become a light tan, sweet, fragrant solid that you could slice with a knife. Sadly, that recipe is lost. My mother was either too young, or too busy eating it to ask exactly how it was made.
I’ve tried over the years to recreate that mold-able spread… and I’ve come close… I can get the color right.. and I can almost duplicate the flavor… but the texture is completely beyond me.
Which is probably why I have 15 jars of apple butter in the pantry. Technically there’s nothing wrong with it, I just can’t see it clear to throw it out. It gets used in barbecue sauces, pork roasts and marinades. Gobbled up on waffles and biscuits, and just spooned up on ice cream….
there’s still a lot of apple butter in there….
I even used a jar today on a muffin recipe I was working on.
Apple Butter Muffins
The Dry Group:
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar – Packed
1/4 Cup White Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon (I use Vietnam Fancy)
1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Cup Pistachios
The Wet Group
1 Cup Apple Butter
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Milk (All the milk I use is Lactose Free, I have a severely lactose intolerant person I cook for)
1 12-Muffin Tin
Stand Mixer with Bowl and Paddle
1 Medium Mixing Bowl
Cinnamon / Sugar for Dusting
- Preheat the oven to 400
- In the stand mixer, add all the dry group ingredients, plus the nuts, and mix on low to combine (the paddle will help crunch up the pistachios a bit)
- In the second bowl, add all the wet group and mix well with a spatula to combine
- Add the wet group to the dry group and mix on medium for about 3 minutes.
- Spoon the batter into 12 muffin tins – be sure to fill the cups all the way to the top of the cup or you wont get the rise you need (and you wont get those crispy muffin tops)
- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and a tester comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack in the pan for 5 minutes, and dust the tops with cinnamon sugar
- Remove the muffins to the rack and cool completely.