Friday, October 26, 2012

Apple Cider Caramels

I stumbled upon these Apple Cider Caramels from Handle the Heat on Pinterest a few weeks ago when I made my Apple Cider Cupcakes .   I had leftover Apple Cider so I pinned the recipe, hoping that I would find time to make the caramels before the Apple Cider went out of date. 

My school was closed today for a hurricane day (which doesn't exactly make it feel like fall) so I decided to try the caramels (which did make my house smell like fall).

The recipe call for a candy thermometer, which I've learned can be pretty useful.  I took out my candy thermometer and it didn't work (my first thought was that it had something to do with the fact that I dropped in fudge last winter).  It turned out that the battery was dead, and we happened to have another one (surprising since it was a tiny size A13 battery and not a size that we would typically keep in the house).

Note:  The recipe says to heat the sugar and corn syrup to 234 degrees, which I did.  It also says to heat the final mixture to 250 degrees, but I couldn't get it that hot.  It was thickening up and making "caramel" on my spoon rest so I eventually just went with it.

My other issue was that I didn't have parchment paper so I used wax paper (I should have used aluminum foil as the recipe suggests).  The paper stuck to the caramels and I had to scrape it off before cutting them.  I haven't tried wrapping the pieces in wax paper as suggested yet.  I'm afraid that it will stick, but I do plan to try it. (Note:  I did end up wrapping the pieces in wax paper, and it worked very well!)

Apple Cider Caramels Recipe


2 cups apple cider
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Pinch nutmeg
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed


In a small saucepan set over medium heat, bring the cider to a simmer and heat until it is reduced to 1/3 cup, about 35 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Butter or spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl combine the heavy cream, salt, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and reduced cider. Set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup. Set over lower heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolved. Simmer the sugar mixture until a candy thermometer registers 234°F.

Remove mixture from heat, remove thermometer, and slowly and carefully whisk in the cream mixture (mixture may foam and splatter, you may want to wear oven mitts - you definitely want to wear oven mitts and add the mixture very slowly). Add the cubed butter and stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. Return the pan to the heat and cook over lower heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thickened and sticky and the candy thermometer registers 250°F.

Remove the caramel from the heat and pour into the prepared pan (again, you may want to wear oven mitts). Let the mixture cool to room temperature or refrigerate until set. Once set, remove caramel from pan and cut into 3/4-inch squares. Wrap each piece in wax paper, twisting each end. Store caramels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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