© John Kernick
Soft Apple-Cider Caramels
- ACTIVE: 1 HR 45 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 45 MIN plus overnight cooling
- SERVINGS: makes 150 caramels
These chewy treats are like caramel apples in candy form, combining the tangy-sweet flavor of cider with buttery caramel. To create your own spin on them, use a flavored apple cider or add different spices, like ground ginger or black pepper.
Slideshow: Easy Food Gifts
- 2 quarts apple cider
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of ground allspice
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, for brushing
- In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Pour the reduced cider into a bowl.
- Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed pan with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and condensed milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; keep the mixture warm over low heat.
- In another large saucepan, combine the sugar with the reduced apple cider, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter until melted. Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture until incorporated. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a golden caramel forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and cloves and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate the caramel overnight.
- Lightly brush a sheet of parchment paper with oil. Invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch rectangles. Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal. Serve or pack the caramels into boxes.
Make Ahead The wrapped caramels can be stored in a cool spot or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The uncut caramel can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; cut just before serving.