If someone asked me to choose caramel or chocolate, I’d choose caramel. Hands down. Always. Any day of the week. Just caramel. Most people look at me crazy whenever I say that, because how could I not love chocolate? I truthfully don’t know. But, I’ve always been that way. A caramel person at heart. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still eat chocolate, it’s just that I’ll secretly wish it was caramel, that’s all. So I guess with a love for caramel, it’s kind of a surprise that I’ve never made it before. When I saw this recipe for apple cider caramels I knew I had to give it a go.
As you heard in my post about my apple crisp, my friend Jackie and I were on a mission to make caramel apples a few weeks ago. The plan was apple cider caramel apples, but obviously it was kind of a fail. Do you know what wasn’t a fail? The apple cider caramels! Luckily, I had Jackie with me to make these because let me tell you folks, it’s a long process.
Like maybe two or three hours. So I highly suggest you do this on a day where you have a lot of time. There’s a lot of time to just sit and stare at the pot and wait for it to reach a certain temperature while ensuring it doesn’t burn or boil over. So having a companion in the kitchen is necessary for this recipe.
Do I still think you should make these? Oh yeah. They were so amazingly delicious. You can definitely taste the apple cider in the caramel, which was a huge selling point for me. I also love that this recipe makes so many caramels.
It makes that 2-3 hour effort really worth it. I bought some more heavy cream yesterday just so I can make some more this weekend. I love them that much! I just wish they would have worked with my caramel apples. Oh well! More for me to eat!
Oh, P.S. you need a candy thermometer for this. I highly recommend getting one. They’re super cheap at Walmart or Target and I’ve used mine for a ton of things, even frying cheese curds!
Apple Cider Caramels
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup heavy cream (divided)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cubed)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt (for topping)
- Pour apple cider into a small sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat and bring the apple cider to a simmer.
- Continue simmering until the apple cider reduces to 1/3 cup, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- In the meantime, butter the sides of an 8 x 8 inch dish and cover the bottom with parchment paper for easy removal of caramels. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and the reduced apple cider. Set aside.
- In a glass measuring cup, add 1/3 cup heavy cream. Then add enough water to get the liquid to the 1/2 cup line on the measuring cup. Pour contents into a large pan.
- Add sugar and corn syrup. Stir together to combine.
- Heat over low until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
- Then, insert a candy thermometer and simmer, stirring frequently, until the syrup boils, about 25 minutes.
- Continue cooking, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 234F.
- Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream and spice mixture.
- Add butter and stir until combined.
- Return pan to heat and cook over low, while stirring, until the mixture boils.
- Then stop stirring and continue cooking until it reaches 250F.
- Pour caramel into your 8 x 8 inch dish. Let mixture cool slightly before adding sea salt. Cool in the refrigerator until it is set.
- When it is set, remove caramel from pan by lifting the parchment paper. Place on a cutting board and cut caramel into 3/4 inch squares.
- Wrap each caramel in a small piece of wax paper by twisting the ends around the caramel.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 80 caramels.
Source: Recipe from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen