Typically, when it comes to applesauce, I’m a no-frills kinda gal. I cook a blend of apples, send them through the food mill, and then into the canner they go. No sugar. No spices. Just delicious, naked apples, sweetened by Mother Nature. What can I say, I like my applesauce to taste like, well, apples.
This year, in keeping with tradition, I made a batch of plain-jane applesauce. Then, I made a batch of knock-your-socks-off awesomesause. Yes, you read that right, awesomesauce. It. Is. Dessert. Worthy.
20 apples, I used Honeycrisp and Rambo
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 tbsp vanilla extract
1 Madagascar vanilla bean
1/4 cup lemon juice
Core unpeeled apples and place them in a large stainless steel pot with about an inch of water. Cook apples over med-high heat (stirring often) ’til apples are soft, about 20 minutes. Run cooked apples through a food mill to remove skins. Return sauce to a clean pot. If you want unsweetened applesauce, it is at this time you will ladle into hot, clean jars and process in a boiling-water bath: 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts. If you have a mix of jar sizes, process them all for the longest time.
Split vanilla bean lengthwise; using the back of your knife, scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and vanilla bean to the applesauce along with vanilla extract and gently simmer on med-low heat for 15 minutes. Stir often. Add sugar, maple syrup, and lemon juice, cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean and ladle applesauce into hot, clean jars and process in a boiling-water bath for 20 minutes. Yields 7 pints.