Apple Butter Makes Holiday Baked Goods Healthy and Delicious

Many of us know about baking with apple sauce as an ingredient, but did you know that apple butter is another a great way to add a rich, spicy-sweet taste to many recipes? This often-forgotten cousin of apple sauce adds a distinctive, delicious flavor to recipes and is perfect for baking, especially during the holiday season.

Despite the spread’s misleading name, apple butter actually contains no butter and is suitable for both vegan and gluten free diets. In essence, it’s a highly concentrated version of apple sauce, made by slow-cooking apples with cider or water (and often cinnamon and cloves) for a long time. When the sugar in the apples caramelizes, the mixture turns a deep brown and emits an enticing aroma.

Made all over the world, apple butter dates back to the middle ages, when monastic monks in Belgium and the Netherlands (then Limburg) and Germany (then the Rhineland) discovered that slow-cooking apples with cider can extend the shelf life — and allow them to enjoy the delicious taste of the fruit well beyond the fall season. Not surprisingly, apple butter later became a staple of the Pennsylvania Dutch, and it continues to be enjoyed today. It can be spread on bread, mixed in oatmeal for breakfast, or stirred into plain yogurt for a snack, but it really shines when used to bake cakes, cookies, muffins, and pancakes, and even when used to make barbecue sauce and spread on pork chops, ham, or chicken on the grill.

This holiday season, as you plan what baked goods to serve your family or wrap up as gifts, consider these simple apple butter recipes from Musselman’s that will have everyone asking for more!

Awesome Apple Butter Breakfast Cake

A perfect treat to serve your family over the fall and winter holidays, this breakfast cake pairs perfectly with a cup of hot coffee or a tall glass of your favorite milk. You’ll use a little butter (so it’s not dairy free), but not nearly as much as most cakes require. Try the recipe.

Banana Apple Streusel Muffins

The spices of apple butter taste great in this unique banana apple muffin sprinkled with streusel, the crumb topping so many of us love and enjoy. Plus, they’re quick and easy to make, low in fat, and kids love scattering (and then eating) the streusel on top. Try the recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Buns

Nothing says holidays like these scrumptious apple cinnamon buns, drizzled with icing and served hot and delicious. Simple to make, the recipe calls for crescent roll sheets and canned cream cheese icing, so you can cut corners and no one will know the difference. Try the recipe.

Spiced Apple Cake with Orange Glaze

This one is perfect to take to a holiday party or keep on hand for when friends visit. Boasting the flavors of fall and winter and decorated with a shimmering orange glaze, the cake tastes great with a hot mug of apple cider or tea. Yum! Try the recipe.

In addition to these healthy holiday baked goods, you can do a lot more with apple butter. Download Musselman’s E-Recipebook, “A New Spin on Classic Recipes!” for recipes that range from party Swedish meatballs and chicken wings to sweet potato casserole and baked beans.

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