Spiced Apple Cider Caramels

There are few things more pleasurable than biting into a chewy, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth homemade caramel. Using delicious apple cider and favorite fall spices, these caramels are sure to be a hit with your family. If you have never made caramels, you are in for a treat! ;) The most important tool you need for making perfect caramel candies is a good candy thermometer with a metal clip so you can clip it to the side of the pot. Accuracy in the cooking temperature is important, so it is also a good idea to check the accuracy of the thermometer by placing it in a pot of boiling water. The temperature should read 212 degrees F (100 degrees C). Don’t worry if your thermometer is off by a couple of degrees, just remember to adjust the recipe temperature. Make sure when you are using the thermometer that the bottom of it does not touch the bottom of the pot. If the thermometer is touching the bottom it can cause an inaccurate temperature reading. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat when cooking the caramels. You don’t want to cook the caramel too quickly. By cooking on low heat, you allow a rich full flavor to develop and it also prevents scorching.


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Spiced Apple Cider Caramels

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
  • Freshly ground cinnamon or course sea salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer apple cider until it is reduced to 1/3 cup; approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the caramels from the pan after they have set.) Butter the parchment.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup heavy cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
  4. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, combine sugar, 1/3 cup whipping cream and enough water to reach the 1/2 cup line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer, stirring frequently, until syrup boils, about 25 minutes. Continue cooking, without stirring, until syrup reaches 234°F.
  5. Remove from heat and very slowly whisk in cream mixture. Add cubed butter and stir until cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return pan to heat, re-insert thermometer and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 250°F.
  6. Remove from heat and pour caramel into prepared pan; let mixture cool slightly, then sprinkle with freshly ground cinnamon or sea salt, if desired. Cool completely at room temperature or refrigerate until set. Once set, remove caramel from pan lifting out by parchment paper. Cut caramel into 3/4-inch squares. Wrap each piece in small wax paper square, twisting at each end. Store caramels in airtight container in cool place or refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

Yields: about 75 caramels

Source: adapted from Blondie’s Cakes and Our Best Bites, originally adapted from Eat Wisconsin Cheese

17 Responses to “Spiced Apple Cider Caramels”

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    1
    Jennifer — October 28, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

    I’m going to make these this year, for sure. I saw a similar recipe during last year’s holiday season and I just never got around to it. However, I now have apple cider sitting in my fridge AND heavy cream…which is unusual…so there is no reason for me to not get around to it now!

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    2
    Erin — October 28, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    Those are absolutely gorgeous. I would just stare and admire them for a whole second before devouring haha.

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    3
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — October 28, 2011 @ 5:03 pm

    So far I’ve avoided buying a candy thermometer. I think this might push me over the edge!

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    4
    Bluejellybeans — October 28, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    I need to find a candy thermometer, because I’ve never made candy at home. But this recipe sounds like a good starter.
    Thanks for sharing and Happy Halloween!

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    5
    Lisa — October 29, 2011 @ 2:48 am

    I gotta say you take some of the best most inviting photos of food. :)

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    6
    chicaandaluza — October 29, 2011 @ 3:53 am

    I have the thermometer but I don´t really know what corn syrup is or what I coiuld substitute for it…any ideas?!

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    ChgoJohn — October 29, 2011 @ 7:42 am

    I’ve never made caramel but you’ve broken down the process into steps that even I could follow. I just may give it a try before Thanksgiving.

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    Emily @ Life on Food — October 30, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    This is one thing I am surely not suppose to eat because of my teeth, but I really, really want to. I am so impressed you made them at home. Candy scares me…even with a candy thermometer.

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    angelanorlen — October 30, 2011 @ 9:16 pm

    These look incredible, perfect way to use up my cider!

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    Jennifer (Delicieux) — October 30, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

    Your caramels look fantastic, and I really love the sound of apple cider caramels. Such an unusual delicious twist.

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    11
    Jen-Eighty MPH Mom — November 4, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

    Oh my…these look amazing. I love all things caramel!

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    Barbara | Creative Culinary — November 5, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

    Wow; you’ve just found me the reason I needed to finish off that apple cider in the fridge. These sound terrific.

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    Amy — November 5, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    I made these tonight with my friend and we could NOT stop eating them. We’d wrap one, eat one, wrap one, eat one. They are far and away the BEST caramels I’ve ever eaten! I’ve never made candy before, so I followed your directions to the letter and they turned out beautifully. We also used cider that we pressed from our apple trees this fall…we weren’t sure what to do with it all because we have it coming out of our ears, this is the perfect solution! Thank you thank you thank you!

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    Cat Davis - Food Family Finds — November 11, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

    Those look and sound amazing. I love homemade caramels, I just wish my teeth did too.

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