Apple Cider Caramels

One of the main reasons I set out to make boiled cider was because I had my eye on the recipe for these caramels. While store-bought caramel candy doesn’t hold much appeal for me, I absolutely love the homemade version, and the promise of a caramel candy infused with apple flavor and warm fall spices was simply impossible for me to resist!

Besides, I just think making candy at home is fun. As long as you have a good candy thermometer it’s pretty simple too, yet the result is so impressive. These would be a really fun treat to have on the dessert table at Thanksgiving, or to bring as a hostess gift if you’re heading to other gatherings this month.

Apple Cider Caramels

Despite an initial setback (which was totally my fault, more on that below), the caramels were everything I hoped they’d be: sweet, chewy and full of apple flavor! I just can’t get enough of the caramel apple treats this year πŸ™‚ The only minor downside to making homemade caramels is that they need to be individually wrapped, and it’s not the most fun job. I was alone when I made these so I had to do it all myself but next time I’m enlisting helpers to make it move a little more quickly!

Apple Cider Caramels

Here’s a quick tip for you, something I learned through the process of making this recipe – maybe it’ll come in handy sometime. The first time I made these caramels I really wanted them to be soft and chewy so I pulled the pan off the heat a few degrees earlier than the recipe indicated. Well, long story short, the caramels were too soft to hold their shape when cut. Rather than throw them in the garbage, I dumped the whole pan back into a big pot and crossed my fingers that I could simply remelt, cook to the proper temperature and have them set up again. And it totally worked! As far as I could tell, the quality didn’t suffer at all either. Score!

Apple Cider Caramels
from King Arthur Flour

{Note: Be sure to use at least a 4 qt pot – the caramel boils up quite a bit as it cooks, and you really don’t want to deal with it overflowing.}

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup boiled cider
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Spray an 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the caramels out. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray.

In a 4 qt saucepan (or something even bigger), combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, sugar, butter and boiled cider. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the sugar. When the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat slightly and continue cooking (no more stirring at this point) until the caramel registers 248 F on a candy thermometer (how long this will take depends on a variety of factors, but figure roughly 20 minutes total).

While the caramel is cooking, combine the salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice in a small bowl. Whisk together to make sure there are no lumps.

When the caramel reaches temperature, remove the pan from the heat and add the spice mixture. Stir to incorporate, then pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool and set (I left mine overnight).

Use the parchment handles to lift the caramels out, and cut into 1-inch squares – a pizza cutter or sharp knife sprayed with nonstick cooking spray works well for the job. Wrap the caramels in small squares of wax or parchment paper to store.

Makes about 64 caramels

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