My husbands birthday was this past Thursday and some of our neighbors came over to help us celebrate it. We have so much fun with them, I love living in a neighborhood where we all can do things together. The best part is that we can all just walk home at the end of the night. Yes, that is how lazy I have become. His birthday has nothing to do with these caramels. I just thought I'd share.
Well these caramels would make a lovely homemade Christmas gift, and his birthday does fall just five days before Christmas so I guess these two things are related after all. Sort of.
Here is the line up of things you will need. The only item missing from the picture above is the apple cider and that's because it's bubbling away on the stove at this point.
See? There it is, bubbling. Reducing nicely.
Now I've added the sugars, butter and heavy cream.
Perfect temp, it's ready.
After the cinnamon and salt is added you can pour into the prepared pan. You have really hot caramel at this point. Now leave it alone for two hours, it will be hard but you must try.
See? Wasn't it worth it? Now you get the glorious task of cutting and wrapping each piece.
Here's what I love about these caramels. Everything. You can definitely taste the apple flavor and the cinnamon but it's blended perfectly with a smooth caramel flavor. The texture is perfect, nice and soft yet it will hold it's shape. Great homemade gift idea here. Aren't you glad I posted this like two days before Christmas? Plenty of time!
Apple Cider Caramels
Recipe by Smitten Kitchen
- 4 cups apple cider (not apple juice and not hard apple cider)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp flaky sea salt - I used Fleur de Sel
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Neutral oil for the knife
- Boil the cider over high heat until it has reduced to a thick dark syrup. This takes about 35-40 minutes or so. It should be about 1/3 to 1/2 cup in volume. Stir occasionally.
- Get all of your other ingredients ready to go because you won't have much time when the cider has reduced.
- Line an 8x8 inch square medal pan with parchment paper that crosses in each direction (like the picture above) and spray the parchment paper with non stick spray.
- When your apple cider is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, sugars and heavy cream. Return the pot to a medium high heat until a candy thermometer reads 252 degrees. Watch it carefully, it doesn't take long.
- Immediately remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the cinnamon and salt. Stir to distribute evenly and then pour into the prepared pan. Let sit until cool, about 2 hours.
- When the caramel is cool, pick up the parchment paper ends and lift it out of the pan. Move it to a cutting board. With a well oiled knife begin cutting 1x1 inch squares, oiling the knife in between each cut. Wrap each caramel in a 4 inch square piece of wax paper.
- Caramels keep in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.