In a large saucepan, combine the apples, water, and brown sugar. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until boiling.
Once apples are boiling, lower temperature to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. Add a teaspoon of water at a time if apples are sticking.
After 10 minutes, add the cinnamon and vanilla and continue to cook until apples are soft, about 15-20 minutes.
Once apples are soft, mash the apples to your desired consistency. If you don’t like chunky applesauce, use an immersion blender for a smooth consistency.
Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
Using a variety of sweet and tart apples means you can use less sugar. You can reduce or add sugar and cinnamon to taste. 8 cups are about 8-10 medium-sized apples.