December 9, 2015

Apple Cider Caramels

How is Christmas baking coming along?  If you are looking for a break from the baking, but still want something sweet, consider these apple cider caramels.

These caramels are buttery, deliciously chewy, and taste like apple cider.  Though caramels require attention to detail, they were not too hard to make and are very fun to give away!

When it comes to caramels, this recipe taught me that continuous stirring and a candy thermometer are vital to successful caramel making.  In the past, I went more off timing and did not use a thermometer and did not have too much success.  It was worth digging through my deep "everything but the kitchen sink" drawer to find my candy thermometer for this project.

These caramels get the apple cider taste, thanks to boiled cider.  Boiled cider is concentrated apple cider, and I found it at King Arthur Flour.  If you are ever looking for any specialty items for baking, check out King Arthur Flour's site.  They have so many neat things (besides flours!), and I always love looking at their catalog when it arrives in the mail.  Additionally, they have wonderful customer service and really stand by everything they sell.  Back to this boiled cider, it adds true apple flavor to anything, and when you throw in some spices, you have that cozy apple cider flavor.

Add this caramels to a cute tin, and you have a sweet gift for the holidays!

Apple Cider Caramels
Yields 64 caramels

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tbsp. butter, salted
1/2 cup boiled cider
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice

Line a 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper and leave an overhang on opposite sides.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter, and boiled cider over high head, and bring to a boil.  Stir continuously to dissolve the sugar.  Reduce to medium-high heat and cook until the mixture reaches 245-248ºF on a candy thermometer, 20 to 35 minutes.  (Go to 245ºF if you want softer caramels.)

Remove the pan from the heat, and add in the salt and spices.  Then, pour the mixture into the pan.  Allow it to rest at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours before cutting it into 1" squares.

Source: King Arthur Flour

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