(makes about 1 quart)
8 medium-sized apples, cut into chunks, skins left on*
1 cup apple cider (or water)
sweetener (agave, turbinado, honey, maple syrup...), optional
In a saucepan, combine apples, cider, and sweetener, spices and vanilla (if adding). Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat until apples are soft. I stirred the sauce about every 10 minutes to mash the apples a bit. The longer you cook it, the softer the apples will get. When you reach the desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Can be frozen for up to two months.
* I am thankful that my family doesn't mind the texture of skins in our apple sauce (which we also leave quite chunky), because I don't have to peel the apples, making this a super fast snack or side. But, if you are more of an applesauce purist, then go ahead and remove the skins. You'll end up with a much smoother end product, which you can further mash til smooth with a fork, potato masher or food processor.