This turned out to be so easy! All I had to use was the crockpot. I made two batches, but I think the first one was too tart. Anyway, just so I can remember, here are the two varieties of recipe I used; we’ll see which one Mom likes better.
Mix of tart apples like Granny Smith, Jonathons, etc.
Peel and slice apples to fill the crockpot (5 qt. variety)
Put in 2 c. apple cider, 1/2 c. vinegar, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 2 t. cinnamon, 1 t. ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg; cook until apples are soft. Puree with blender (handheld or regular type). Continue to cook until deep brown and most liquid is evaporated, so that a spoonful of the apple butter does not fall out of the spoon.
Like I said, this batch was too tart, plus I had problems getting rid of enough liquid.
Second batch: I filled up the crockpot even more densely, did 1 c. apple cider, 1/2 c. vinegar, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 2 t. cinnamon, 1 t. ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg. It was definitely a bit sweeter, but I think I could still cut back on the apple cider and vinegar — maybe even half that? and possibly less sugar as well as a result — since I still had some problems getting rid of enough liquid. But the proportion of sour to sweet was better in this batch.
I will await a verdict after Christmas, since this is part of Mom’s present. But early information is good, since Sister and BIL tried and liked it. I’ll have to check and see what Nephew1 thought, since he is as much of an apple butter addict as Mom is.
Other things to remember:
1) definitely borrow the combined peeler/slicer from neighbor again.
2) for better use of peeler/slicer, only get medium-sized apples and but them up quickly, before they soften.
3) a whole half-bushel was just about right for doing two batches, with some left over. Next year make some apple pie filling with the rest and can it, once you’ve got the whole right size of apple thing down as well as right kind of canner.