Apple Season is going strong here at Eckert’s! We are picking several varieties of apples on the farm and they taste so fresh and crunchy right off the orchard trees!
This fall has been a busy time for our whole family with new routines & tons of homework. I don’t know about you, but hectic schedules send me into “comfort food mode” and that meant a big batch of Slow Cooker Vanilla Apples this week.
I used Jonagold apples in this recipe because the kids had just picked them from the trees on the road up to our farm house. You can easily modify this recipe to accommodate the variety you have on hand. More on that later…
This recipe is handy because after you slice the apples and dump them in the crock put, you can walk away while they cook. (In my house that means supervising homework and starting the next load of laundry!)
To get this recipe started, I used my apple coring and slicing machine (made by Norpro and available for sale in our Country Store). Some of you are probably lucky enough to have inherited one of these handy contraptions from your grandma!! I adore this old-fashion, hand-crank device because it allows me to slice, peel and core a big bowl of apples in under 10 minutes.
Once the apples are ready, I placed them in the crock pot, topped them with sugar and cinnamon and cooked on high for 30 minutes. Next, I turned the crock pot to low and cook the apples for another hour before stirring in the vanilla extract. After dinner, I dished out the hot apples and topped them with frozen custard and pecan pieces. Comfort food to the rescue indeed!!
A little note here about making vanilla sugar from our Eckert Family Fall Cookbook:
Vanilla sugar is very simple to make. Begin with two cups of sugar in a sealable container (preferably glass). Cut a vanilla bean in half lengthwise and bury it in the sugar. Cover tightly for at least 1 week to infuse flavor. Vanilla bean pieces may stay in the sugar indefinitely. Vanilla sugar is excellent on fresh berries, oatmeal, and French toast. Use the dried vanilla bean pieces in hot milk for custards or puddings.
Vanilla sugar adds wonderful flavor to this recipe without overpowering the apples. However, you can certainly use regular granulated sugar if you are in a pinch.
Jonagolds are medium in texture and they tend to soften faster than Honeycrisp and Fuji apples. When I follow this recipe with firmer apples, I cook them on low for close to 2 hours.
I hope this recipe inspires you to come out and pick some fresh apples at Eckert’s and give Slow-Cooker Vanilla Apples a try soon. Be sure to visit our Crop Update to see a list of apples we are currently picking.
Eat well this Fall,
3 lbs. Eckert’s apples, peeled, sliced (7 to 8 large apples; about 9 cups)
¼ cup vanilla-flavored granulated sugar
¼-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Place apples and sugar in 3-quart slow cooker; toss to coat. Add cinnamon to taste; stir. Cover with lid. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Reduce to low. Cook apples until soft and tender, about 1-2 hours. (Do not overcook or apples will become mushy. Taste test for desired texture.) Stir in vanilla extract. Makes about 8 servings, 1/2 cup each. Serve hot over Eckert’s® Frozen Custard with toasted pecans, if desired.