3poundsapplesroughly 8 larger apples or 12 smaller apples, depending on size (I like sweet-crisp apples: McIntosh, Jonagold, Gala, and Pinklady are all delicious. See blog post above for more suggestions.)
¼cuphoneyplus additional to taste
½teaspoonpumpkin pie spice*
Core the apples and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks. Leave the peels on or peel the apples if you’d like a lighter-colored sauce or are using an apple with a firmer skin like Granny Smith (see blog post above for more details). Place the apples into a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
Add the honey, cinnamon stick, and pumpkin pie spice. With a vegetable peeler, peel off a small strip of lemon peel (be careful not to get too much of the white pith, which is bitter). Add the peel to the slow cooker. Save the rest of the lemon for another use.
Cover the crock pot, and cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the apples completely break down. Stir the apples occasionally while the sauce cooks.
Remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth (or run the sauce through a food mill, which will remove some of the skins, or purée the applesauce in a blender in batches, being careful as hot liquids will splatter). Taste, and add additional honey if you’d like a sweeter sauce. Let cool, and enjoy!
*No pumpkin pie spice? Swap it for ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch each of ground ginger and ground cloves. OR use 2 cinnamon sticks instead.
Don’t miss the blog post above for storage tips, more information about the best apples to use for applesauce (and why I cook this recipe with the peels on), as well as tasty flavor variations.