I've made apple butter a million times and I use cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, besides the apples. I don't think I would like it without the spices. aplle butter with only apples is basically applesauce....
The kind I make doesn't even use cider. Its just apples (macs usually), cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Depending on how sweet the apples taste to me, sometimes I add a little (like 1/2 cup per approx. 8 pints of apple butter) sugar. I put the ingredients into a slow cooker and ignore for a couple hours (LOL) until it looks like apple butter. Then I eat and/or can.
Just cook down the apples like you would for plain applesauce, but you have to keep going until no moisture remains. Test by putting a spoon of the cooked apples on a dish, a ring of water will show around the sauce if it needs to cook longer. No water, it's done. I made pear butter once, just pears, it was unbelieveable.
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