If you haven't spent the holidays with Full Circle Foodie before, I'd like to extend a warm welcome. This is my fourth year in a row executing my "Baked with Love" project where I bake a variety of cookies and candies and then package them up all pretty to give, with love, to coworkers, friends and family.
Each year, I incorporate tried and true traditions as well as new recipes that I am equally excited about. Grab some hot cocoa and enjoy your stay as my 2011 Box of Love unfolds before your eyes!
Today's sweets are another new addition to the Baked with Love series. I came across this recipe this summer and had Mom test it out while I was home in Austin. These caramels got rave reviews from everyone that they were shared with so I knew they had to make another appearance during the holidays.
Don't shy away from this recipe just because you haven't made caramels before. I made these before the peanut brittle this week, so not only were they my first adventure in making caramels on my own, but they were also my first go at candy making altogether. I'm pleased to report that the kitchen did not go up in smoke and they turned out heavenly if I do say so myself.
What you'll need:
1. Apple Juice, 2. Candy Thermometer, 3. Foil Squares, 4. Apple Pie Spices
Heavy Cream, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Butter
Apple Cider Caramels
adapted from Our Best Bites
2 cups high quality apple juice, like Simply Apple
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
- Boil apple juice in a medium saucepan until it reduces to 1/3 of a cup; approximately 20-30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare an 8x8" baking dish by lining it with parchment paper and spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Make sure parchment paper covers the sides.
- Mix reduced apple juice with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and 2/3 cup heavy cream. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat sugar, the remaining 1/3 cup heavy cream plus enough water to reach 1/2 cup, and corn syrup over low heat until dissolved.
- Simmer mixture until it reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove from heat and stir in apple cider mixture and butter until fully incorporated and smooth.
- Return to heat and cook on low heat until caramel mixture reaches 248 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Poor caramel into prepared pan and allow to cool completely before cutting.
- Remove caramel from pan and cut into desired size and wrap with 4x4" squares of candy foil or wax paper.
I love the uniqueness of the flavors in these caramels. Apple cider is no stranger to the Christmas holidays, but you don't expect it when biting into a decadent square of caramel. The taste of spiced apple cider is distinct, yet not overpowering. These are a fairly soft caramel that loved ones of all ages should be able to enjoy. For an added layer, sprinkle them with a fine flaked sea salt for that sweet and salty combination that everyone loves. Enjoy. And don't forget to share!
Check out Baked with Love of years past...