Monday, October 15, 2012

"Patience Is A Virtue" Says My Apple Cider Caramels

I'll admit it: I'm not the most patient person. Not only do I like things neat, clean, organized, and done right, I also like them done now. So when I decided to take on the waiting game of caramel making, I should have known better. The greatest things in life take time. Lesson learned.
That said, they turned out delicious, just a tad on the hard side because I didn't think the temperature on the thermometer was moving along fast enough and felt I needed to help it along. Oops.

I originally found this recipe on Pinterest, where it had been pinned from Our Best Bites, whose recipe was adapted from the American Dairy Farmers . Apple Cider Caramels just screams fall, and I am a sucker for all things Autumn. Pumpkin, apple, hot chocolate, chili, the smell of burning leaves, cozy sweaters, football. Everything about it feels like comfort, warmth, and home. So of course I had to make them. Yet as I mentioned in my previous post, I have never attempted caramels, or anything requiring a candy thermometer, so it was a bit of a daunting task. But, you never learn if you don't try. Mr. Wannabe's grandmother made the best homemade fudge, and now his Aunt Gayle carries on that tradition. I guarantee you though that they were not as great the day she first made them as they were the last time she did. Practice makes perfect. Everything about cooking, baking, and candy making is about trial and error. A recipe really doesn't become yours, something you are known for, until you have perfected it. Speaking of Grandma Norma's Fudge, Aunt Gayle should be making some in the next month or so. I think I may grab my camera and see if she'll let me observe, take some photos, and post how to make that decadent deliciousness! But until then, let's make some Apple Cider Caramels!

You Will Need:
2 cups high quality apple cider
1 cup heavy or whipping cream, divided
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. all spice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 stick REAL butter, cubed

1) Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper, being careful to leave at least one inch above the edge for easy removal. Spray lightly with cooking spray (which I don't have, so I greased it lightly with Crisco), and set aside.

2) Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high until cider is reduced to 1/3 of a cup. Set aside.

I bought my cider from our local apple orchard. Beats anything you can buy in the store! 

3) In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup of the cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and the reduced apple cider. Set aside. 

4) In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 cup cream plus enough water to reach the 1/2 cup line on your measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.

5) Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees. *Note: This is where I got impatient. For some reason my thermometer hit 235 and just stopped. I waited. And waited. And finally turned the heat up just a little. Yay, 242. Followed by a nap standing up. I turned up the heat a little again. And again. Finally, I swear like an hour later (okay, maybe not quite that long!), we reached 248. Either my thermometer is off, or it's really supposed to take that long. Either way, I let my impatience get the best of me, and while my caramels soften beautifully as you chew them, they are hard to bite into initially.

6) Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature before cutting. Cut the caramels into 1/2" squares and wrap each caramel in waxed paper. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. *Note: Since my caramels turned out a little too hard, I had to soften them in the microwave for about 30 seconds before cutting them. I used a pizza cutter, which worked out well!

The cool thing about this stage is that your caramel is pretty easy to mold if it's shape is a little goofy. 

These caramels are seriously delicious, and have amazing flavor. I think next time I may use this recipe to make a sauce for vanilla ice cream, or to drizzle over pie. Scientifically, you would think the temperature would just need to be lowered, correct? YUM!

Happy Monday!
Mrs. Wannabe


  1. Replies
    1. I'm making more when it gets closer to Thanksgiving and would be happy to share!