Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Apple Cider Caramels

These caramels have an intense apple cider taste and are rich and buttery.  These are a little bit time consuming, but I enjoyed the end result.  My caramels didn't firm up as much as they should have, so they needed to remain chilled, but I kind of like that anyway.  I think I needed to let them cook a little longer to get a firmer caramel.  I toyed with the idea of doubling the recipe, thinking a little 8x8 pan would not yield nearly enough for my sweet tooth.  I am so glad I didn't!  One of these a day will do ya, and even after sharing with some neighbors we have a ton of caramels!  Rest assured, we will "suffer" through and every last one will get eaten.  I think these would make a great little treat to give to parents when they come by with trick or treating little ones. 

Recipe adapted from:  Our Best Bites

  • 2 c. high-quality apple cider (like Simply Apple)
  • 1 c. heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. light corn syrup
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) real butter, cubed

Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 cup. (keep a glass or silicone measuring cup handy so you can pour it out and back in again if you need to and watch it near  the end). It should be thick and syrupy.  Set aside to cool.
Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1″ hanging over the edges for easy removal. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, spices, and reduced apple cider. It will be thick and smell divine.  Set aside.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees (this takes a long time, like 20 minutes or longer).
Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cut the caramels into 1/2″ squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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