Apple butter is a thick spread that comes from apples and cider that have been boiled and slow-cooked until the apple caramelizes. Apple butter lasts up to two years because of its high concentration of sugar. It's generally very sweet with a hint of spiciness from cinnamon and clove seasoning. Too much spice, however, can ruin its sweet and subtle flavors.
A recipe that produces 9 or 10 pints of apple butter typically requires only 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon. The only way to neutralize too much cinnamon is to add more of the main ingredients. Avoid adding other spices, which will conflict with the cinnamon. Add more apples, vinegar and sugar instead.
A recipe that makes 9 or 10 pints of apple butter calls for approximately 1 teaspoon of ground cloves. One way to neutralize too much clove flavor is to add more apples or sugar to the mix. Start with small amounts of sugar and taste before you add more. Sugar will help lift the flavor of the cloves, but be careful of adding too much or the apple butter will be much too sweet.
Halve the Recipe
If you're unable to fix your apple butter, don't immediately start over from scratch with a whole new batch. Try halving the apple butter, keeping one half and discarding the other. Then make half of the recipe without spices. Combine the initial batch with the new recipe and allow it to sit in an oven or a slow cooker at low temperature to develop and merge the flavors.
If you simply can't alter the taste of the apple butter, try pairing it with foods that naturally neutralize spiciness, like dairy products and bread. Try your apple butter on a thick slice of French bread with a tall glass of cold milk. Or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to a bowl of apple butter. The contrasting flavors may bring out the sweetness of each food.
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