I love this alternative to the usual cranberry sauce. Cranberries and apples cook down until thick and caramelized−a lightly spiced condiment to serve with turkey, spread on toast, or spoon over yogurt. And here’s the trick: The longer you cook the fruit, the thicker the final product. It’s really up to you. Less time and you’ll have a rich applesauce; more time and it’ll resemble the apple butter your grandmother might have made. To guarantee adequate cooking time, start the process in the evening and let it cook overnight. Your actual prep time is minimal. Cooking both fruits with their skins adds depth of flavor, but you will need a food mill or strainer to remove them at the end.
5 pounds (about 10 large) mixed apples, unpeeled, cored,and cut into medium-size pieces
1 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups fresh apple cider
Turn a slow cooker on high and add all ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for about 11/2 hours, stirring a few times, and bring the mixture to a vigorous simmer. Once simmering, stir once more and set the lid slightly ajar to let some moisture escape. Continue cooking until the cranberry-apple butter is dark brown and as thick as you’d like, 7 to 10 hours more (times vary because slow cookers vary in their heat output). Stir well (the mixture may still be lumpy in spots) and pass through a food mill or strainer to remove skins and smooth out any remaining lumps. Serve warm or at room temperature. If you prefer to preserve the butter, you can find instructions on newengland.com/applebutter.