Adding spices at the end of this recipe helps them retain their flavor; they won't be absorbed into the sauce while cooking.
Peel, core, and cut the apples into 1 1/2-inch pieces; place in a medium saucepan with sugar and 1/4 cup apple juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until apples are soft enough to mash, 50 to 60 minutes.
Add the remaining cup of apple juice, and continue to cook until the apples are very soft and break down, about 30 minutes. Using wooden spoon, stir to break large pieces. If applesauce gets too dry, add more juice, 1/4 cup at a time as needed. Remove saucepan from heat, and whisk apples until smooth. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Serve at room temperature.