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Homemade apple butter with cinnamon candy? Give it a try

Terri W. of Boone likes homemade apple butter, but one that's made with a unique ingredient.
"I hope you can help me," she writes. "I would love to have a recipe for the stovetop/crock pot apple butter that's made with cinnamon candies. My great Aunt Maudie made it, but couldn't ever remember how she did one batch from the next."
If you think finding a needle in a haystack is difficult, try finding a slow-cooker Apple Butter recipe. Many cookbooks ignore recipes for wonderful, old-fashioned apple butter -- let alone one flavored with cinnamon candies. Too bad. Apple butter, dark and fragrant with spices and a hint of lemon, is a special treat when spread over a warm biscuit or toast.
Try the recipe below.
More recipe requests
•Another reader wants to make some Sea Foam Candy, an old-fashioned sweet that was always made around the holidays and given as gifts. If you are not familiar with using the cold-water method of testing cooked candy mixtures, use a candy thermometer to take the guesswork out of when to remove candy from the stove. There's a recipe below.
•For a Halloween party snack, try the recipe below for Bat Bites Popcorn Mix. Not only is popcorn a whole grain food, it is also high in fiber. In this recipe, the popcorn is dressed up with dried cranberries and nuts and sprinkled with a honey-cinnamon glaze.
MARILYN'S SLOW-COOKER APPLE BUTTER WITH CINNAMON CANDIES
Makes 5 to 6 pints. From "Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook," by Dawn Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good, (Good Books, $23.95). 2 quarts unsweetened applesauce
2 to 4 cups sugar, depending on sweetness of applesauce and your preference
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 heaping cup red hot cinnamon candies
COMBINE applesauce, sugar, cloves, lemon juice and cinnamon candies in a slow cooker. Vent the lid. (You may want to put a layer of paper towels under the lid to prevent condensation from dripping into the apple butter as it cooks. Some recipes suggest removing the lid for the last several hours of cooking so the mixture will thicken quicker.)
COOK on low 8 to 10 hours, stirring about every hour. Apple butter thickens as it cooks, so cook longer to make it thicker.
POUR into pint containers and freeze.
(WHITE) SEA FOAM CANDY
Makes about 4 dozen pieces. From "Jim Graham's Farm Family Cookbook for City Folks," N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup clear, thick syrup, such as Karo
2 egg whites
Vanilla or peppermint flavoring
MOISTEN sugar with a little hot water. Add syrup and boil until mixture threads when a bit of mixture is dropped from a metal spoon into cold water. This takes place at 223 to 234 degrees on a candy thermometer.
POUR 4 tablespoons of the boiling syrup over beaten egg whites. Let the balance of the syrup cook until it hardens in cold water. Then pour the remaining hot mixture over the eggs and beat constantly until it begins to get stiff. Add flavoring and drop the candy mixture by teaspoons onto waxed paper to cool.
NOTE: Some recipes add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped nuts to the candy mixture.
BAT BITES POPCORN MIX
Makes about 12 cups. From the American Pop Corn Co.
1 (3-ounce) bag butter flavor 94% Fat-Free Microwave Popcorn, such as Jolly Time
3/4 cup dried red fruits (such as dried cranberries and dried cherries)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon-sugar
POP popcorn according to package directions. Open bag carefully and pour into a large bowl; discard unpopped kernels. Sprinkle dried fruit and almonds over popcorn; set aside.
MICROWAVE honey and butter on high (100% power) in a medium microwaveable bowl for 1 minute. Pour over popcorn mixture. (Honey mixture will become very hot so handle carefully.)
SPRINKLE cinnamon-sugar over popcorn mixture; stir until evenly coated. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve immediately or cool completely and store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
OPTIONAL: Add 2 tablespoons Halloween-colored candy sprinkles with the cinnamon-sugar; stir until evenly coated.

Source: Charlotte Observer

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