My mother-in-law said she is upset with me because she didn’t need to know that these things existed. Now that she does… well, it’s a good thing I live 4 hours away because these things are addicting and delicious! It’s a recipe I found on Pinterest and comes from Blondie’s Cakes & Things who got it from Our Best Bites. I didn’t change a thing about it (as it’s posted at Blondie’s Cakes) and it’s perfect the way it is. You need a candy thermometer, but they are fairly inexpensive. Mine was only $15 at Khol’s.
Step 1: Reduce 2 Cups apple cider down to about 1/3 C
Step 2: Mix cream and spices. Add cooled, reduced cider
Step 3: Dissolve sugar and corn syrup in cream and water. Simmer until syrup is 234°F.
Step 4. Slowly whisk in cream mixture and add butter. Now you have a choice: eat it with a spoon, or continue on to make the caramels. I chose to continue on, but it was a difficult choice.
Step 5. Boil the mixture until it reaches 248°F. This part is CRAZY if you’ve never made candy before. It’s fun! It gets all weird and stringy in the pot while it’s boiling, but turns to runny goo when it’s on the spatula.
Step 6: Pour caramel into 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper, coated with a little veg oil and set aside to cool overnight. If you put it in the fridge, it will get super hard and impossible to cut. I recommend leaving it on the counter over night.
Step 7: Cut the caramels (I used one of these schnazzy pizza cutters, though not the same brand) and wrap them in waxed paper.
Step 8: If you were able to wrap any before eating them, unwrap them and eat them.
Apple Cider Caramels
from Blondie’s Cakes & Things
my notes in green
- 2 cup high-quality apple cider
- 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup (I also tried a version substituting Maple Syrup for the corn syrup. Read more below)
- 1/2 cup 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 C. Keep an eye on it…it might try to run away. 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. Coat with a bit of vegetable oil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine 2/3 C cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. 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 (about 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp), and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234°F 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 (I had to put it back on low heat to get all the butter to melt. I just made sure the mixture didn’t boil). Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248°F.
- Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator (I wouldn’t recommend the refrigerator; mine turned rock hard and I had to let it sit out for hours before I could cut it). Cut the caramels and wrap pieces with waxed paper (this really doesn’t take that long, and it’s super easy to get them all wrapped while watching TV or listening to MPR). Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Update: Maple Syrup Cider Caramels
I know that some people believe corn syrup to be bad for us, I’m not really sure if that’s true or not—I know it’s a hotly debated issue—so I decided to try to make these using maple syrup instead of corn syrup. I did a 1:1 substitution and omitted the water (by mistake, but I think it was a good thing anyway). The result was a caramel that tasted heavily of maple syrup and was quite malleable; they didn’t hold their shape when picked up like the corn syrup version did. Personally I liked the corn syrup ones better so I’ll stick with that in the future.