Wash, core and chop 5 pounds of your favorite apples, leaving the peels on. While a rough chop is all that’s needed, smaller pieces of apple will cook faster. To get a thicker butter in the shortest amount of time, chop pieces to about half the size pictured here.
2Add the remaining ingredients to a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker and toss to mix.
3Cover and cook apples on high for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally, until soft and cooked through. A good rule of thumb is to allow the apples to continue cooking for at least one hour after the liquid around the edges of the slow cooker has reached a strong, rolling simmer.
4When apples are completely soft, puree the apples with an immersion blender. Or carefully transfer the hot mixture in batches to an upright blender or food processor. Puree the apple mixture for 2-3 minutes until completely smooth, like a caramel sauce.
5Continue cooking, partially covered, on high for 30-60 minutes more or until the apple butter has reduced to your desired thickness. It will thicken even more as it cools.
6Refrigerate apple butter in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.