Apple Cider Caramels
‘Tis the season for Apple Cider Caramels. I love the slightly salty-chewiness of Fleur de Sel Caramels, but surprised myself by loving these even more with their smooth, buttery caramelness and “bang-zoom” apple cider/cinnamon punch. Once made, I have to go to great lengths to hide them: there’s no way to keep it a secret with the smell of apple cider wafting through the house and that’s when my family vultures start circling!
The caramel making process is photographed and outlined in my Fleur de Sel Caramel post and this recipe is ever so slightly easier. For wrapping, either buy the cellophane wrappers which will save a lot of time and are worth the money – about $14 for 1,000. Or, cut up fifty, 4 inch squares of waxed or parchment paper.
Once upon a time, if you asked me what my favorite candy was, it would’ve been anything chocolate. Now, it’s these. I can hide them from my family, but how do I hide them from myself?
Apple Cider Caramels
- Candy Thermometer
- Pizza Cutter
- 8×8 square, metal baking pan
- Parchment Paper
- *Apple cider can be found in farmer’s markets, farm stands or usually in the refrigerated section of the produce department in most grocery stores. Do not substitute apple juice.
- 4 Cups apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, like Maldon
- 8 Tablespoons/1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 Cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 Cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 Cup heavy cream
Boil the apple cider, for about 35-40 minutes, in a saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to 1/3-1/2 cup in volume.
While the apple cider is reducing, line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch baking pan by crisscrossing 2 sheets of parchment paper. This will help when lifting the caramel out later. Stir the cinnamon and salt together in a small dish. Have all the other ingredients ready to go – you have to work quickly later and won’t have time!
Once the apple cider is reduced, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, sugars and heavy cream. Return the saucepan to medium-high heat with the candy thermometer attached to the side. Boil until the thermometer reads 252 degrees. This will only take about 5 minutes – watch carefully!
Remove the caramel from the heat, add the cinnamon-salt mixture and stir to distribute evenly. Pour into the prepared pan and let sit until cool and firm – about 2 hours or refrigerate. Once firm, lift from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. If refrigerated, let come to room temperature before cutting. Brush the pizza cutter with neutral oil (like canola) or spray with a cooking spray. Do the same with the ruler. Refer to my Fleur de Sel Caramels post for cutting technique.
Wrap each one in a square of cellophane, waxed paper or parchment twisting the ends to close. Caramels can be kept at room temperature or stored in the fridge if there’s any left at the end of the day!
Credit: Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook