Don’t go into this holiday season without a trusty baking guide — and we’ve got just the one for this year. Holiday Cookies is so much more than cookies, check out these recipes for all kinds of seasonal treats, from the pumpkin-spiced to the apple-spiked. These apple cider caramels make a beautiful gift, or you can just eat them all yourself!
The irresistible aroma of cider warming on the stove top tells you the holidays are here. It takes a bit of time to achieve the concentrated apple flavor these caramels need, but it is time well spent. Use a fresh-pressed unfiltered apple cider from the refrigerator section of the market. Lightly coating the knife with a neutral oil like canola oil makes cutting the caramels into neat pieces a little easier.
- 3 cups unfiltered apple cider
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 teaspoons flaky sea salt
- Candy thermometer
For the caramels
Pour the cider into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to a simmer and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1⁄2 cup.
Meanwhile, line an 8-inch square straight-sided metal pan with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on all sides.
Remove the cider from the heat; add the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cream; and give the mixture a stir. Return the pan to high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Clip the thermometer onto the pan and boil for about 10 minutes without stirring, until the mixture registers 245°F to 250°F on the thermometer. Stir in the cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the salt and remove from the heat.
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Let the caramel cool until slightly warm, then refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until firm.
Using the parchment-paper overhang, lift the caramel out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1-inch squares. If you like, wrap each caramel in a small square of parchment or waxed paper and twist the ends closed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.