Here it is November. Already! I am having a hard time believing that Thanksgiving is in a few weeks. I mean, stores are already selling eggnog and Christmas trees/decorations, so I should get with the program here. It’s just been such a reasonably mild fall. We didn’t even have a killing frost until it froze just a few nights ago when we had a beautiful squally snowfall that didn’t amount to anything. The grass is still green people! I’ve been enjoying it with hikes in Acadia National Park with a good friend, and walks on my favorite loop with the dog. So, I am slowing turning to the kitchen and planning some exciting holiday desserts. I am having a hard time containing my excitement and self control. I want to make them all right now! But, we can only eat so many desserts at once. Bummer..
So, let’s talk about these caramels. I know that people are probably shying away from apples right now and looking toward pumpkin and whatever else you consider Thanksgivingy. But I am not quite ready to give up on the apples. Not yet at least. If you aren’t turning your nose up at apple themed desserts yet, then you definitely need to make these caramels. They have been on my radar for probably a few years now, I just haven’t gotten around to making them. Since I’ve really been feeling the apples this Fall, I decided it was high time I made these.
Oh boy oh boy.
These are SO good. You cook the heck out of apple cider so it is seriously reduced and wonderfully strong and thick. It gives the caramels that hot apple cider taste, but gooey, and caramely. And downright delicious. Oh they are so worth the effort. These would make excellent gifts for people too. Wrap them up in cute little parchment squares and put in a box- voila! You have yourself an easy, homemade gift that everyone will love. In case you don’t make these as gifts (I wouldn’t blame you if you kept them for yourself), check out these apple cider caramel stuffed snickerdoodles. They are to die for!
Recipe from Everyday Annie
Apple Cider Caramels
Caramels have just been brought to the next level by incorporating apple cider. Boiled down apple cider makes for an intense flavor that pairs beautifully with caramel. Topped with flaky sea salt and we have the perfect sweet and salty combination.
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- scant 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Pour the cider into a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat slightly but allow the cider to remain at a boil. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to a thick syrup, between 1/3 and 1/2 cup, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- When the cider has been reduced, remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter, sugars and cream. Return the pan to the heat and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 252ºF. Make sure to watch the temperature very closely! As soon as the mixture reaches the correct temperature, remove from the heat, stir in the cinnamon and salt, and pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Let stand until completely set, at least a few hours or overnight. Sprinkle with additional flaky sea salt if desired. Remove the slab of caramel from the pan, slice with a lightly greased sharp knife or pizza cutter into 1-inch squares. Wrap in small squares of parchment paper and twist the ends to seal shut. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.