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Red Hot Apple Butter

Red Hots apple butter and biscuits
Kendra Bailey Morris for NPR /

Makes 6 to 8 pints

5 cups apple cider

10 pounds tart, red cooking apples, washed, cored and cut into wedges

4 to 5 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

50 to 60 Red Hots candies (1.75 ounces)

Special tools: large, heavy-bottomed pan, sieve

In a large, heavy-bottomed pan (such as cast iron), bring the cider to a boil. Cook it down to 2 1/2 cups. Add apples and simmer until they are mushy and no longer watery, about 2 hours.

Push apple mixture through a sieve into a large bowl, removing any apple skin and lumps. Measure the apple mixture in cups and put back in the pot. For every 1 cup of pulp, add 1/2 cup sugar. Then, add ground cinnamon and candies. Cook uncovered on medium heat for 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture becomes thick. The apple butter should be a reddish-brown color.

Pack apple butter into hot, sterilized jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Seal jars while mixture is piping hot. Properly sealed apple butter can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 2 years.

Serve apple butter on warm biscuits.

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