Okay, I never, ever, ever thought I'd type the following words...
I made homemade apple butter yesterday.
WHAT? If you'd have told me 5 years ago, I'd have laughed in your face.
HA! Good one!
But it's true. I made apple butter. Pumpkin apple butter in fact. Now, I did make it in the bread machine. But still. Did you know you could do that? Well, you can. At least most of the newer ones can. It's dead easy and it tastes fan-freaking-tastic.
15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (or use your jack-o-lantern guts!)
1 tart cooking apple--peeled, cored & grated
1/2 unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
Dump it all in the pan, except for the butter. Turn the machine on Jam cycle and push start.
I'm exhausted from the effort.
The cycle on my machine (Zojirushi Home Bakery) took an hour and twenty minutes, during which time I sat on my ass, read Wondertime, then scared myself silly reading about the economy on the Internet. Huck was napping, not locked in closet or anything.
When the bread maker chimes, remove the hot pan carefully, stir in the butter until melted, let it stand for 15 minutes, pour it into canning jars. Boom. Done.
The recipe filled three 8 ounce jars for me and the stuff keeps in the fridge for 2 months.
I'm kind of in awe. I just had no clue you could make something so delicious and so...impressive, so easily. Or am I just an idiot for ever having been impressed with apple butter in the first place? Am I like the African bushman who thinks the Coke bottle is a gift from the Gods?
That's is how I feel about my bread machine in general. I love it. I know making bread by hand is not that hard. But I get scattered. I leave it too long. I start the day interested in making bread but have lost my motivation before all the steps are complete and end up with the doughball that ate Cincinatti on my counter. The bread machine frees me. It's like taking a baby steps.
I also love the book The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook. It's full of great loaves and a variety of sizes. Daily breads, savory and sweet breads, pizza doughs, rolls, and jams. The Pumpkin Apple butter recipe is straight out of it. Okay, I added a little more butter.
Now, here's what you do. Whip some up, pour it in nice jars, slap on a label, and give it to friends. And never ever mention me, or the machine, or the book. In fact, repeat after me:
"Oh, it was nothing. It's just an old family recipe. I hope you like it."