Slice the stick (or 1/2 cup) of unsalted butter into slices. Arrange half of the sliced butter on the bottom of the slow cooker. This will create a layer of butter that will keep the apples from sticking to the bottom of the cooker.
Peel and cut your apples into large chunks- about 1-2 inches big, then add the apples to a large mixing bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves.
Sprinkle the sugar and spice blend over the apples and use a large spoon (or your hands) to toss the apples in the mixture.Add the vanilla bean paste (or extract) and the apple cider vinegar to the bowl and toss once more to thoroughly coat the apples in the mixture.
Cook the Apples
Pour the sugared and spiced apples over the butter in the slow cooker, then dot the top of the apples with the remaining butter.
Cover the slow cooker and cook the apples on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. If you're at home, give the apples a stir once or twice as they cook. Stirring isn't a must, but if you're around, it's a good idea.
Puree the Applesauce and Serve
Once the cooking time has elapsed, use an immersion blender to puree the apples. Simply insert the blender into the slow cooker and puree on low speed until no large chunks remain.
If you don't have an immersion blender, move the apples to your food processor (or blender) in small batches using a ladle or a large spoon. Vent the cover by removing the plastic plug in the center of the lid and covering that hole with a kitchen towel. Blend the apples in batches until they're smooth.
Spoon the warm or cooled cinnamon applesauce into bowls, spread it on your favorite baked goods or stir it into cereals or batters.
*an ideal blend of apples are Granny Smiths, Gala, and Honey Crisp
If you don't have a slow cooker, or would like to prepare this applesauce on the stovetop:
Add all of the butter to the bottom of a 6-quart stockpot.
Toss the apples in the sugar and spice mixture, then in the vanilla and apple cider vinegar as instructed above.
Add the apples to the pot and cook them over medium heat for 5 minutes or until they start to simmer.
Once the apples start to simmer and steam rises from the apples, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot.
Simmer the apples for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. When the apples are soft and break apart easily, puree as instructed.
Refrigerator Storage: This applesauce keeps in the fridge for 7-10 days. Transfer the sauce to a covered container or quart-sized mason jars and pop them into the fridge.
Freezer Storage: Allow the Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce to cool to room temperature. Transfer the applesauce to freezer storage bags. Press out any excess air and freeze it for 6 months. To thaw, put the bags of applesauce in the refrigerator 45 minutes to an hour or longer.