Aaaaaaaaaand take 2!
I know I’m a little late to the party. I have been seeing all kinds of caramel recipes in the food blogging world lately. When I first saw an apple cider recipe, I was drooling and intrigued that you could make you own caramels. It’s like homemade marshmallows. I am in awe!
So I set out to make my first batch or caramels. Fully expecting to fail the first time. And I did. They tasted good. Maybe a little too tart. The texture was my issue. They were way too soft. There was no way I was cutting into that mooshy mess. Even after being in the fridge overnight.
It took me a couple of weeks to get up the courage to try again. I went searching for a new recipe. I found one over at Love and Olive Oil. This is where for the first time I saw that you could increase the temperature of the caramel if you wanted harder candies. “That’s me” I shouted. I also noticed that Lindsay said she was a little disappointed in the way the peach flavor in hers was barley there. That was the other thing I needed to do, tone down the cider flavor. I assume it’s the corn syrup that does that.
With my first attempt failure looming over me, I tried again, but this time I was going to increase the temperature, and add corn syrup.Well that was it! It worked success! I made caramels. I can honestly say it was a lot of work, and worth the it.
P.S. put the caramels on parchment at all times. I rested a few on my wooden cutting board, and they stuck… like glue. When I tried to pry them off, they flew clear across the kitchen, and it was a race with the dogs to get them. I won, thankfully!
Apple Cider Caramels
[Adapted from http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2013/08/peach-caramels.html]
**note, you will need a candy thermometer, and an 8×8 pan, not a 9×9 pan.
4 Cups of Apple Cider
1 Cup of Whipping Cream (Sometimes Referred to as Heavy Cream)
4 Tablespoons of Butter, Cut Into Small Cubes
¼ Teaspoon of Salt
1 ½ Cups of Sugar
¼ Cup of Corn Syrup
½ Teaspoon of Vanilla
Prepare a 8×8 pan, by lining it with parchment paper. Make sure it hangs over the sides. I measured out 2 pieces, so it hung over all 4 sides. I also sprayed the pan with a little non-stick spray, to make the parchment stick.
In a medium pot, over medium to high heat, bring the apple cider to a boil. As soon as it begins to boil, reduce heat to low/medium. Allow to simmer until reduced to ½ cup. This takes about 40 Minutes.
In a large pot, add reduced apple cider, cream, butter, salt, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a gentle boil. Stir a couple times so all the ingredient are mixed. To not over stir it.
Once boiling, you can take a small pastry brush and wet down the sides of the pot to dissolve any sugar on the sides. DO NOT STIR!! Sorry for yelling, I stirred, it’s not good. Attach your candy thermometer to the side. The idea is not to let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pot, for a more accurate reading.
Allow the mixture to reach the temperature of 320 degrees F. Seems a little high, but I tried it at 250, and the caramels would not set. Worst case, you have hard caramels.
Once it reaches 320 degrees, remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Allow to cool at room temperature, for 30 minutes. At this point, you should be able to score the caramels with a pizza cutter or regular knife. I didn’t do this. I only mention it, because if your caramels are really hard, you’ll wish you had.
Allow to cool for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight, if you can stand it. I couldn’t!!!
Remove the caramel from the pan, by lifting the parchment. Sit it on top of a cutting board. Cover a cookie sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper. Following the lines you scored earlier, cut into desired size, mine were about ¾ of an inch to an inch. IMPORTANT. Spray or grease your knife or pizza cutter. I used a long knife sprayed in non-stick spray, this made to sick from all the spray, so I switched to running my knife over butter. This is not as easy as it sounds, it’s kind of a pain. But worth it. As you cut the caramels, place them on the new parchment, don’t let them sit on the wood cutting board or any other surface. They will stick, as I explained in my post.
At this point I knew how big my caramels were and I was able to measure how big to cut the parchment paper into. Wrap the caramels in parchments.