Who knew making pumpkin butter would lead me to another canning recipe for applesauce? I certainly didn’t. But when I had the chef at the restaurant I work at try out the pumpkin butter I made last week, I took his suggestion of adding some star anise to my butter recipe and instead tried it in my third round of applesauce making. And holy COW is it good. I used four stars in my batch for a distinctly-flavored sauce, but you could tone it down a bit by only using three stars.
Vanilla and Star Anise Applesauce
Yields about 8 pints
- about 9 lbs apples, washed, cored, peeled, and coarsely chopped (I used Macintosh)
- 2 1/2 c pure apple cider
- 1/4 – 1/2 c pure maple syrup (depending on your preference)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, OR 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or more to taste if you really dig vanilla!)
- 3 – 4 whole star anise
- dash of salt
Combine apples and cider in a large, non-reactive pot over medium-high heat and cover; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until the apples can be easily mashed with a wooden spoon, about 10-15 minutes. If you want a chunky sauce, simply mash down the pieces with a wooden spoon or whisk; for a smoother consistency, “buzz” it with an immersion blender right in the pot or run the sauce through a food mill. Once mashed, add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine; simmer on low another 15-20 minutes or until the flavor is to your likening. Remove the star anise and vanilla bean, if using. With the sauce still bubbling, ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace; remove air bubbles, wipe rims, and adjust two-piece caps. Process in a boiling-water bath canner for 20 minutes.