The Obsession Continues: Apple Cider Caramels

Apple Cider Caramels

Apple Cider Caramels

I have been on cider bender the past few months. Since early October my fridge has contained no less than one half-gallon of fresh apple cider, purchased anywhere from Farmer’s Markets to the grocery store. I’ve drank it straight, mulled with Applejack and used it for various cooking endeavors, like this brined pork roast.

However, the best creation I made are these apple cider caramels from an old issue of Food & Wine magazine. They tasted (depending on which friend of mine you asked) like caramel apple pops, apple fritters or candied apples. To me they were just as I imagined,  a perfect combination of the spiced cider flavor — cloves, cinnamon and tart apple — and creamy decadent caramel.

They were also luxuriously soft. While they’d hold their shape in the refrigerator, once popped in your mouth, they would melt almost instantly. They were so good I had to fight my natural instinct to hoard them and instead manged to share them with co-workers, friends and even some of my favorite customers in Seattle.

My friend Ariel loved them so much I think I have to make a batch just for her and her husband to enjoy. I gave her a few to take home and got this hilarious text message later that night: “Holy sheep shit, Batman” is what Eric said after trying a bite of one of your caramels. Now that’s a compliment, people!

Anyways, onto the process: I won’t say these delicious little guys are quick to throw together. Planning ahead is definitely necessary. Reducing the cider took about an hour and getting the caramel to the right temperature took at least that long. But the end results are so, so worth it. Also I only made a half batch and still had plenty to share. If you want to give these out as holiday gifts, a full batch will make around 120-150 caramels!

And a little hint: I used an already spiced cider for my reduction. I was worried the spices would become too intense, but other recipe reviews had mentioned they had wanted a more “cider” flavor so I went with it. And it was a great decision — the spices came through loud and clear but were not overwhelming.

The mixture!

The mixture: cream, butter, sugar, cider reduction and sweetened condensed milk

Waiting to hit 245 degrees was a long, slow process...

Waiting to hit 245 degrees was a long, slow process…

Slab of caramel

Slab of caramel

Such a pretty color -- and you can see speckles of the spices in the candy.

Such a pretty color — and you can see speckles of the spices in the candy.

Can't wait to start batch #2!

Can’t wait to start batch #2!

Some to give away, some for me to eat!

Some to give away, some for me to eat!

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17 thoughts on “The Obsession Continues: Apple Cider Caramels

  1. oh dear. Holy cider press, Batman. Those look dreamy. Love how you find so many great cider recipes–sweet and savory–food and drink. Thinking I shall crown you the Queen of Cider 🙂

    • It’s been a good year for me and cider! I’ve actually gotten down to my last bottle — time to go shopping again. =) And I just bought a 35# box of apples so I’m seeing some apple butter and applesauce in my near future. Yummm!

  2. I’ve been attempting both apple cider and cranberry caramels for the holidays and while the flavors are fanfriggintastic, i can never get them to stay solid. I’ve tried 6 different recipes, held the temp between 250 and 280 at times and even stuck them in the fridge but as soon as they reached room temperature they turned to goo and I couldn’t wrap them 😦 After much googling I’ve surmised it’s the high humidity here in Florida that’s preventing my caramel from cooperating so I’ll probably just pour it into baby food jars and give them out that way. FYI Woodchuck Amber Apple Cider is a fantastic substitute for non-alcoholic cider. I discovered this after following a recipe on About.com that suggested cooking the sugar to 350 and scorched the whole batch along with the last of my apple cider :-p

  3. Wonderful, yummy photographs! I could see myself with a slab. Of course, I would not be sharing! Thank you for the recipe. The apple cider caramels would be a great addition to any holiday basket.

    • Thank you! Trust me, I have a natural tendency to hoard delicious things and it was very hard to share this. But it would definitely be great in a gift basket. Good luck not keeping it all to yourself! =)

  4. Pingback: Thanksgiving in the blogosphere, French bread, and lots of blog links | food for fun

  5. Pingback: A is for Autumn, Autumn is for Apple Cider Cream Pie | Attempts in Domesticity

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