All the flavors of a tall glass of spiced apple cider wrapped up into one little caramel. These things are decadently delicious! They have got to be the most flavorful caramels I’ve ever eaten. I love how they’re chewy and soft all at once, and they are creamy and buttery (unlike that caramel you’d buy at the grocery store). And their scent is heavenly (I’m starting to believe spiced apple cider is one of my favorite smells). When you pair their sweetness with with saltiness of Maldon or Fleur de Sel wonders happen (I’d highly recommend using one or the other because these caramels have a high concentrated sweetness so I think they need some salt to balance that out).
This was my first time making apple cider caramels and it won’t be my last. I love the flavor of apple cider especially when those fall spices are added. It just one of those things that will carry memories with it, like thinking of that stroll through the pumpkin patch while holding a cup of warm apple cider in your mittens.
Just be careful when you are boiling the cider, I learned the hard way, keep a close eye on it during the last 10 minutes. Let’s just say my first attempt at reducing the cider (which I’d never done before) didn’t go over so well because it does begin to thicken and turn to a rich caramel like sauce near the end, and it will rapidly begin to reduce (which I had no idea). I set a timer for 5 minutes near the end, went upstairs while I was waiting for the timer to go off and came back to a pot filled with black mess, my daughter called it “coal.” Kinda funny, kinda sad. Oh don’t we hate those moments though.
You are going to love these sweetly spiced, apple flavored little candies! They would make the perfect gift for family or friends!
Apple Cider Caramels
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup heavy cream , divided
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp ground allspice
- 1 pinch cloves (fill an 1/8 tsp halfway full)
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 1/2 Tbsp water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
- 1/2 tsp salt (I used fine sea salt)
- Maldon or Fleur de Sel , for topping
Add cider to a large saucepan, set over medium-high heat and allow to simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup (keep a close eye on it during the last 10 minutes, it can burn. Keep a glass liquid measuring cup nearby to pour and measure, then return to pan as needed to reduce a little longer until it measured 1/3 cup), about 25 minutes (cook time will vary based on size of pan and burner temp, it might be less it might be more). Set aside to cool.
Butter and line and 8-inch baking pan with two sheets of parchment paper (one going each direction) leaving a 1-inch over hang on each end, and butter paper.
In a small bowl whisk together 2/3 cup of the cream, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and reduced cider. In a 3-quart heavy bottom saucepan combine sugar, remaining 1/3 cup cream, corn syrup and water. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves, then cook mixture, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream mixture. Add butter and stir to melt. Return to medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally until mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and carefully pour caramel into prepared baking dish. Allow to rest at room temperature or in refrigerator until caramel is set. Sprinkle with Maldon then cut into squares or rectangles and wrap in wax paper. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks, bring to room temperature before enjoying.