if an apple tree and a pot of burnt sugar had a baby, i’m pretty sure these apple cider caramels are what it would taste like. the flavor of this candy is seriously intense. like, close your eyes and have an out of body experience intense. they are sticky and chewy, but not toothache-inducing, and as you chew, you experience a series of mind-blowing flavor explosions.
first, you taste the sugar. nothing but sweetness. then, you chew a little more, and you really dig into that burnt sugar caramel flavor. and then, all of a sudden, it hits you: the most intense apple cider flavor you’ve ever experienced. like, if someone took all the apples off an apple tree, put them into a compactor, and compressed them all into one tiny little square. and then, to finish, warm notes of cinnamon dance around your mouth. seriously, it’s more than a candy. it’s an experience.
words can't do these ridiculously good caramels justice. just make them.
- 4 cups apple cider
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- put the apple cider in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. let it boil, stirring occasionally, until it is reduced to a dark syrup between ⅓ cup and ½ cup in volume - about 35 minutes.
- meanwhile, line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper goes up the sides of the pan (you can use 2 sheets and criss-cross them).
- when the cider is fully reduced, take it off the heat and add the butter, sugars, and heavy cream. attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and put it back over medium-high heat. cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 252°F - about 5-10 minutes.
- remove the pot from the heat, stir in the cinnamon and salt, and pour the caramel into the prepared baking pan. put the pan in the fridge and let it cool until it is completely set - about an hour. once the caramel is firm, use the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan and transfer it to a cutting board. spray a sharp knife with cooking spray and cut the caramel into pieces however big you want them, re-spraying the knife every couple of cuts.
- wrap each candy in a small piece of waxed paper. keep the caramels in an airtight container at room temperature.