Making candy at home is nowhere near as tough as it sounds. With just five ingredients and some careful attention to bubbling sugar, you can make these cider caramels, which have a deep, slightly tangy apple flavor and are utterly addictive. Best of all, wrapped up in little squares of wax paper, a handful of these caramels makes an incredible edible gift (or a trick or treat!).
Let’s get started. The five ingredients you’ll need are: apple cider, butter, cream, cinnamon and brown sugar.
First, you cook the cider down into a delicious, wholesome syrup. Because of the natural sugars already in the cider, as the liquid simmers, it becomes much thicker. Still, it retains its apple-y tang, a flavor that’ll eventually lend greatness to the finished caramel candies.
To the cider syrup, add sugar, cream, and butter–the ingredients that make this into a caramel. They’ll dissolve into the cider syrup. Yum.
Bring the mixture to a simmer, incorporating everything together. Here’s where you’ll need a special piece of equipment – a candy thermometer. The thermometer allows you to bring the caramel to just the right temperature so it’ll set into candies later.
Prepare your pan by lining it with parchment so the caramel doesn’t stick…
Add spices to the caramel, then pour it into the prepared pan.
After that, the only skill you’ll need is patience. It takes about 2 hours for the caramel to set. When it does, cut the square into square-ish shapes (it’ll still be kind of soft, but do the best you can. Plop a candy in the middle of a parchment piece, then…
Roll up, twisting the ends, just like you’re making a bit of old-fashioned homemade candy. Oh wait, you are.
Keep the candies out on the counter for snacking, or pack a few into a pretty box for gifting to friends.
Get the whole recipe below.
Note that you’ll need a candy thermometer to make these caramels successfully.
4 cups apple cider
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Reduce the apple cider. Place the cider in a small pot and simmer over medium-high heat for 35 to 45 minutes, until thick and syrupy. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
While the the cider reduces, prep the pan and the rest of the ingredients: Line an 8-inch square pan with crisscross of parchment. Cut the butter into cubes
When the cider has reduced, attach the candy thermometer to your pan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, sugar and heavy cream. Return to heat and let boil for about 5 minutes until it reaches 252 degrees.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the cinnamon, stirring to combine. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let sit for about 2 hours. You can speed things up if you put the pan in the fridge.
When firm, cut the caramels into small squares, using an oiled knife. Wrap each square in a 4-inch squares of waxed paper, twisting the ends to seal.