Monday, November 10, 2014

Re-Visited: Cooking Club #15

[Original post date Dec. 2011. --Updated 11/10/14: original, but separate content, with updated photos and/or more details, if available.]

---> Cooking Club is coming up soon, and now that I'm blogging, I want to share these moments but I thought I should play catch-up first. So without further ado, here (and in more posts to come) is what we've been up to. Enjoy!

#15 September: 5-Ingredient Fix

The Menu:
Homemade Apple Butter on Toast
Orzo with Parmesan and Basil
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I'm not sure who came up with this month's theme, but the stipulation was the recipe could have no more than five ingredients. Unfortunately, I missed this Cooking Club (so I don't have pictures of the other dishes), but I was able to try the recipes the next day at work. Later on, I brought the recipe I had intended to make into work for everyone to try. I made my homemade apple butter in the crockpot. The apples slow-cooked their way to a chunky mess of butter-like goodness.

Apple butter is my absolute second favorite topping on toast, right behind cinnamon-sugar. Growing up there were always jars of this stuff in our refrigerator. And we usually purchased ours from the Amish Country. But as I've grown, the apple butters I've had recently are just too sweet. The last jar I purchased back in April actually hurt my teeth. I've never had apple butter as smooth as butter. I like mine a little chunky. And I've been meaning to try my hand at it for a few months now.

So when I was given the 5-ingredient only assignment, I went to work in my kitchen to make a delicious apple butter. But my main concern was the sweetness. I did not want mine sweet. I decided to pass on adding actual sugar, and replaced it with maple syrup. Added some spices, cinnamon (well, because apples and cinnamon, duh) and nutmeg (which is my favorite spice), and juice, and a couple of hours later I had a tasty, luxuriously, chunky apple butter for my morning toast.

Homemade Apple Butter

4-5 lbs apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2-3/4 c apple juice
1 c maple syrup
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon

Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low 5 1/2-6 hours. During the last 2 hours, stir the mixture every half hour to break up the apples. After cooking, if apples need broken down any more, use a potato masher. Then cook on low another 1/2 hour with the lid off, stirring frequently, or until desired consistency is reached. (If you like yours sans chunks, break out the hand blender or wait until cooled and place in a blender; puree until smooth.) Store apple butter in containers in the fridge. Enjoy!

P.S. I definitely plan on canning and sharing this homemade apple butter with family and friends. It makes a great housewarming/hostess gift.

*I hope you enjoyed these Cooking Club snippets. I've finally caught up! I hope these themes, and even Cooking Club itself, inspire you to gather with your friends and family in the kitchen, and make sweet moments (and delicious food) of your own.

**I've only included the recipes to the dishes I made. Only because I'm unsure of where everyone got theirs...and hey, we gotta give credit where credit is due. If you have any questions about the other dishes, I'll ask the other members where they got their recipes and pass it along!

Check out our previous meetings!
Cooking Club #1-4
Cooking Club #5-8
Cooking Club #9-12
Cooking Club #13
Cooking Club #14

With Love and God Bless,

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