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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Apple Cider Caramels

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I'm BAACCKK! Thanks to Monica the site is alive and I am ready to party!

Apple cider caramels are magic! I have never been a candy maker so I was hesitant at first, but this recipe from King Arthur Flour and Smitten Kitchen works perfectly — if you follow the instructions exactly and make sure your thermometer is accurate. I am including it in all my Christmas baskets this year. You can make them up to 2 weeks in advance, just don't eat them all!


4 cups (945 ml) real unpasturized apple cider
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons smoked flaky Maldon sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (110 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
Neutral spray oil for the knife

Boil the apple cider in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over high heat until it is reduced to a dark, thick syrup, between 1/3 and 1/2 cup in volume. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally and skim off the foam. To be sure you have the correct amount of reduction, measure it into a measuring cup then pour it back into the big pot.

Meanwhile, get your other ingredients in order — it's always best to be prepared, especially when working with sugar! Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with parchment. Set it aside. Stir the cinnamon and flaky salt together in a small dish.

Once you are finished reducing the apple cider, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, sugars, and heavy cream. Return the pot to medium-high heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side, and let it boil until the thermometer reads 252 degrees, only about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it.

Immediately remove caramel from heat, add the cinnamon and salt mixture, and give the caramel several stirs to distribute it evenly. Pour caramel into the prepared pan. Let it sit until cool and firm — about 2 hours, though it goes faster in the fridge. Once caramel is firm, grab your parchment paper to transfer the block to a cutting board. Use a well- oiled knife, oiling it after each cut (trust me!),and cut the caramel into 1-by-1-inch squares. Wrap each one in a 4-inch square of waxed paper, or buy precut sheets of acetate candy wrappers, twisting the sides to close. Caramels will be somewhat on the soft side at room temperature, and chewy/firm from the fridge.

⚠️ WARNING! ⚠️ Making candy like this at high altitude might be a nightmare. Sugar does weird things sometimes, so no guarantees to my Santa Fe buddies! If you do try it at high altitude and this recipe worked for you (or failed spectacularly), leave a comment and tell us all about it! Or, if you just need these in your life, text me and I will send you some!

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