At the Table

Cider & Spice Caramels

These…are…so…good.  Sweet, tart, buttery, and full of nice autumn spices.  This is my first “Pinterecipe” (def: a recipe that was  found on Pinterest).  The original recipe is posted here, and I tweaked it ever so slightly in the spice department, since I really like nutmeg with apple flavored things and didn’t have some of the other spices called for.  This recipe is really pretty simple, and even though I don’t want to say it’s foolproof, I made it twice with great results both times.  It’s not terribly time consuming either – takes maybe 30-40 minutes – but they’re 30 minutes spent nearly entirely watching a thermometer, so it’s not a great recipe to try if you’re already multitasking.

My only advice is calibrate your thermometer.  I thought I didn’t need to calibrate my new candy thermometer, and then wondered why my first batch of caramels wasn’t setting up even after cooling for 4+ hours.  Turns out the thermometer was off by 7 degrees, which is a lot in candy-making terms. It’s super easy to do though…boil a pot of water and insert the thermometer.  It should read 212* – if not, just adjust your future readings accordingly.  And if you aren’t happy with the consistency of the caramel, it is possible to remelt the caramel and try again.   Anyhow, enough about that.

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. corn syrup
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. nutmeg
  • pinch each of cloves and ginger
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • dash of salt

Boil the cider over until it is reduced to 1/3 cup.  Set aside to cool.  Line an 8×8 pan with buttered foil or parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup cream with water added to make 1/2 cup.  Cook over low heat until sugar is dissolved, trying to get as much granulated sugar off the sides of the pan as possible.  Once the sugar is dissolved, cook over low or medium heat until the mixture reaches 234*.  I didn’t find a need to stir it at this point, but I did swirl it around in the pan a couple times.  While that’s heating, combine the reduced cider with the remaining 2/3 c. cream and the spices.

Once the sugar mixture reaches 234*, remove from heat and whisk  in the cider and cream.  Add  butter and salt (I didn’t measure the salt, but it was probably around 1/16 t.  Not much, just enough to cut the sweetness of the mix.), and stir until butter is melted.  Return mixture to heat and cook over med-low until it reaches 248*, stirring occasionally.   It should start to look almost foamy, and be boiling in big pillowy bubbles.

Pour into the prepared pan and let set for at least a few hours if not overnight.  Once it’s firmed up, cut into cubes or strips and wrap in waxed paper or parchment paper.

If you cut them and don’t wrap them, and then leave them at room temperature, they will spread back into each other…trust me.  Once they’re wrapped they hold their shape pretty well.  They can also be stored in the refrigerator, but you’ll need to allow them time to soften up again before sharing.

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5 thoughts on “Cider & Spice Caramels

  1. When I saw this yesterday I had to make them! They are delicious. I wanted to give them as a gift this afternoon so to get them to cool quickly I put them in the freezer. I left them too long, and they froze solid. I felt like a sculptor with my knife and mallet chipping off bite-sized pieces (crazy geometric shapes, not cubes). All the flying shrapnel is for me!!
    PS The cooked down cider would make a great pancake syrup, wouldn’t it?
    PPS Miss you and your family!

    Like

    • Mrs. Martin! It’s awesome to hear from you! We all miss you too. I actually did the same thing with one of my batches (minus the shrapnel)…thank goodness they don’t stay that way forever, though. And you’re right about the cider making good pancake syrup. I’ve been wondering what else I could do with it since I’ve got plenty of leftover cider that’s asking to be used up…maybe i’ll make pancakes for Sunday breakfast :)

      Like

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