This simple recipe is hands-down my favorite thing to do with apples. It just says, “Fall,” to me when my house smells like baking spiced apples. Apples are in season in Fall and so you will see more varieties at the stores (and the organic ones are less expensive than usual). I purchase organic apples because they’re listed somewhere on the Dirty Dozen list each year. Use a variety of apples, some sweet and some tart, for more depth of flavor. Granny Smith (tart, green), Gala (sweet, red) and Honey Crisp (tart/sweet, red/yellowish) apples are the three I most often use together.
There is no need to peel the apples first (which makes the process even quicker and simpler) but you can if you don’t digest the peel well or if you are afraid of the texture. I promise, though, if you cook the apples long enough the skins become so soft you can’t even tell they are in there once it’s blended up. Plus, you get some nice color and extra nutrition if you leave them on. See our little video for how I peel apples and/or and prepare them to bake!
This is very tasty and sweet-tart without adding any additional sweetener but you could add a little honey or maple syrup if you like. I recommend, though, allowing your taste buds to adapt to the pure apple flavor with cinnamon and butter that’s used in this recipe. It’s great for a snack, with your breakfast or tucked into your kids lunch boxes. When my kids were babies I made sure it was blended extra smoothly and – homemade baby food!
One thing that’s somewhat unique about this recipe is the addition of butter. I can’t imagine making it any other way but it’s an ingredient I see left out of many other recipes I find. We could always use a dose of healthy fat it gives this apple sauce a richness only butter can provide.
This recipe is still very basic but as you can see in the “Fanci-fy it!” section there are a variety of ways to add a few things here and there to make it more interesting. You could add other varieties of fruit such as pears, extra spices (or leave them out altogether) as well as things like vanilla or maple extract. For a tasty dessert you could mash it only slightly so you have a chunky sauce and serve it with some of our Basic Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream!
- 10 – 12 apples, preferably organic. Use a variety such as Granny Smith, Gala & Honey Crisp. If your apples are very large use only 8 – 10
- 6 Tbs real butter such as Kerrygold
- 1 heaping Tbs cinnamon (optional)
- One oven proof pot with a lid such as Corning ware or an enameled cast iron pot/Dutch oven (like the one in our photo)
- A potato masher or any utensil that will work well for mashing OR
- An immersion blender (also called a stick blender) like this one OR your blender
- This recipe is also delicious with pears! Use half apples and half pears and follow the recipe as usual.
- Add a tsp or 2 of vanilla or maple extract
- Use a pumpkin pie spice blend, like this one, rather than just cinnamon.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel your apples, if you want to, otherwise just slice them into quarters and then cut out the core (see video). If your apples are very large, like Honey Crisps tend to be, you may cut them into 6 sections rather than 4.
- Cut your butter into little square patties (about 1 Tbs size)
- Place the apples in your pot and place the butter squares on top.
- Sprinkle your cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) over the apples and butter.
- Add any other ingredients you wish (see the “Fanci-fy it!” section of this recipe)
- Put the lid on your pot and place it in the oven for 15 min. Keeping the lid on during baking traps the liquid in the pot as the apples cook down. This extra liquid helps the apple sauce to blend smoothly later.
- After 15 minutes remove the pot from the oven and give the apples a good turn with a large spatula or wooden spoon. Place the lid back on and put it back in the oven.
- Remove the pot and stir the apples every 10 minutes or so until they are very soft and falling apart when you stir them. This takes about 30 minutes, total.
- Stop and take note of the delicious way your home smells and the warm fuzzies you feel right now.
- When your apples are very soft they are done and you can leave the pot on the stove with the lid slightly ajar for a little while so the apples can cool a bit.
- When you’re ready, use a stick blender to blend the apples right in the pot until smooth! Start slowly. The smoother the sauce becomes, the more quickly you’ll be able to stir. You can also use a blender to puree the apples in batches. This works very well. It just takes a bit more time. For chunkier sauce mash the apples instead. Use something like a potato masher.
- Serve it up. It’s yummy warm. Enjoy!