1Peel, core and slice the apples. (This is really the only time-consuming part of the recipe - peeling, coring and slicing the apples.) Place the prepared apples into the crock pot.
2In medium mixing bowl, put the sugar and all of the other spices and stir to mix well. Pour/sprinkle this sugar mixture evenly over the apples in crock pot. Drizzle the liquid (I always use apple juice, instead of water, seems to give it more flavor, in my opinion) over the apples and stir (as best you can) with a large, flat spatula until well mixed. (Will be more like "tossing" than stirring.)
3Turn crock pot on low setting and cook overnight or for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally, until it is thickened to your liking. When the apples have cooked for several hours, you will be able to "mash" them up a little bit with a potato masher, if you have one. I found it works best and makes the smoothest apple butter if you use an immersion blender and blend it until it is a smooth puree. If you feel like it is too thin, remove the lid and cook for awhile longer to allow it to thicken a little more. Stir more often toward the end of the cooking time, as it thickens, to prevent scorching. (I did not have to do this, mine did not have any trouble with sticking or scorching, but I guess it might if your crock pot is one that seems to cook hotter than normal.)
4Original recipe says "Store in refrigerator for up to 6 weeks." However, I processed my jars in a boiling water bath to seal them so that it would keep for much longer (easily up to one year, if properly sealed). To "can" the apple butter (for longer non-refrigerated storage), pack into hot jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. This recipe made three 12 oz. jars, so the 2nd time I made it, I doubled it. That amount could vary a little, I suppose, depending on the size of your apples. Note, when doubling the recipe, the crock pot (if it is a 5 quart one) will be VERY FULL when first getting started, so much so that I actually had to save some of the sugar mixture until the apples had cooked down some (about two hours) before I could add it in or else it would've overflowed! But as you will see, it cooks down so much that it works out just fine. Some "canning recipes" like jams and jellies recommend NOT doubling because it somehow messes up the "jelling" process so that it doesn't set up just right, even when cooking for longer amounts of time. That was not a problem with this recipe. Also, the first time I made this, I used a mixture of Cortland and Red Delicious and it was great. Second time, I used a bag of McIntosh and it was just as good. I really didn't notice a big difference, to tell you the truth, so just go with your favorite apple.