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Apple Pie Spiced Caramels

These literally taste like little sweet nuggets of apple pie and are the perfect sweet bite after dinner.

In the PNW I usually buy the apple cider from one of the local pumpkin patches, but the local markets also carry it. You want to make sure it's the raw kind because that will give the best flavor! There is usually sediment at the bottom because it's fresh pressed, and you'll find it in the refrigerated section.

If you like hard candy, keep them in the fridge, but if you like your caramel soft and squidgy they'll keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

I love doubling or even tripling the recipe to make as holiday gifts. And don't let the amount of time scare you off -- 2 hours of it is spent waiting for caramel to set, so you can spend that time reading or binge watching or helping your kids with their homework!

Apple Pie Spiced Caramels

Print Grocery List Print Recipe
Serves: Makes about 30 Total Time: 3 1/2 hours (includes setting time)

Ingredients

  • 4 cups apple cider (raw, unfiltered and refrigerated cider, not hard apple cider, not sparkling and definitely not apple juice!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (I love using Maldon)
  • 8 tablespoons (115 grams or 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks (use a high fat European butter like Kerrygold or Plugra)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Neutral oil for the knife, like grapeseed or canola

Instructions

1

In a 3- to- 4- quart saucepan boil the apple cider over high heat until it is reduced to a dark, thick syrup. It should be about between 1/3 and 1/2 cup in volume. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes and you'll want to stir it occasionally. Don't venture too far from your stove, though, because it will vigorously bubble up right at the end when it's transforming into the thicker syrup;

2

While the apple cider is bubbling away assemble the rest of the ingredients. Once the apple cider has become a thick syrup, you need to add the rest of the ingredients right away. The candy process moves really quickly, and you don't want to spend time running back and forth to your pantry.

3

Take 2 long sheets of parchment and criss cross them to line the bottom and sides of an 8- inch straight- sided square metal baking pan. Set it aside.

4

Stir the cinnamon and flaky salt together in a small dish.

5

Once you are finished reducing the apple cider, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, sugars, and heavy cream.

6

Return the pot to medium- high heat and place a candy thermometer on the side. Let the mixture boil until the thermometer reads 252 degrees. This should only take about 5 minutes, so keep a really close eye on it.

7

No candy or deep- fry thermometer? Have a bowl of very cold ice water ready, and cook the caramel until a tiny spoonful dropped into the water becomes firm, chewy, and you can form it into a ball.

8

Immediately remove caramel from heat, add the cinnamon- salt mixture, and stir the caramel well distribute the spice evenly. Pour caramel into the prepared pan. Let it sit until cool and firm—about 2 hours. If you want to speed things up a bit, you can put it in the fridge. Once caramel is firm, lift the parchment paper and transfer the caramel to a cutting board. Use a well- oiled knife, oiling it after each cut to prevent the caramel from sticking to the knife, to cut the caramel into 1-by-1-inch squares. Wrap each one in a 4-inch square of waxed paper, twisting the sides to close.

9

Do ahead: Caramels keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for two weeks, but, it's doubtful they'll last that long.......trust me!

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