Another awesome recipe from my amazing friend Jessica!
Apple Cider Caramels
There are only 2 sleeps until Christmas and if you’re anything like me, you are currently panicking that you have accidentally forgotten to buy a gift for someone, or are secretly worried that someone will surprise you with a gift and you’ll have nothing to give them in return.
Fear not! There is still time to whip up a batch of these delicious caramels that you can wrap up in pretty packages for the inevitable holiday gift-giving emergency. They are a creamy apple-cider-y hit every time, and simple to make, plus they make more than enough for a few extra gifts and a bunch for your tummy too.
First up, you’ll need a litre (4 cups) of apple cider. I had some fresh-pressed cider at home, but to be honest, I have used a 1L tetra pack of unsweetened apple juice and no one has been the wiser. Pour it into a pot and bring it to a boil. You need to reduce the juice from 4 cups to about ¾ of a cup. This takes about 20-30 minutes, but requires absolutely no effort on your part (except perhaps checking in on it now and then to make sure your pot doesn’t boil dry). This step concentrates the apple-y flavours.
Once you have the reduced apple juice, add all the other ingredients (listed below) to the pot and bring it back up to a boil. It is important to have used a pot big enough for everything (and if you aren’t sure, overshoot it). Trust me when I saw that the LAST thing you want to be doing 2 days before Christmas is scraping burnt sugar mess off your cooktop. If your pot is big enough, the boiling step will be rather effortless too. (I did not use a big enough pot, so I had to stand over it watching the whole time to make sure my pot didn’t runneth over).
You’ll need to bring the whole mess up to between 245 and 250 degrees. This makes for a nice soft, creamy caramel.
While you’re waiting, get a 9×13 glass pan, butter it and put a layer of parchment paper to make removal easier. Pour the caramels into the pan once they come to temperature. Don’t stick your finger in for a taste. Just trust me on that one too.
At this point I’ll plop the whole thing in the refrigerator and let it chill. Pop it out of the pan, cut up and wrap in squares of waxed paper. (You can buy candy wrappers, but I’m cheap and plain old waxed paper works just as well.)
Just don’t forget that if you eat them all while you’re wrapping them, you won’t have any left to share.
- 4 c apple cider/juice (reduced to ¾ c)
- 2 c whipping cream
- 2 c brown sugar
- 1 c sugar
- 1 1/3 c corn syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 Tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cloves
- ¼ tsp ginger