I don’t have many food posts these days, but I felt I really needed to publish this recipe. Nearly all the recipes and their derivations on the internet are just plain wrong. So let’s fix that…
These chewy caramel candies are perfect to make during the winter holidays when apple cider is easily available. I’ve tried different types of cider and prefer cider that is on the tart side. If you can’t find good apple cider, you could always make your own: https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us/recipes/apple-juice
Chewy Spiced Apple Cider Caramels
- 4 cups apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch (~1/8 teaspoon) ground allspice
- pinch (~1/8 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- pinch (~1/8 teaspoon) ground clove
- 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 110 grams light brown sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Fleur de Sel French sea salt (optional)
- non-stick canola oil cooking spray
Other Things You'll Need
- non-stick aluminum foil
- waxed paper
- 2 quart saucepan
- 3-4 quart saucepan
- 8 inch square metal baking pan
- candy thermometer
- Boil the apple cider in a medium (3-4 quart) saucepan over high heat until it has reduced to 1/2 cup in volume.
- Meanwhile, combine your spices (cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove), salt, and sugars. Make sure to remove any lumps in your brown sugar.
- Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed nonstick aluminum foil. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Once the apple cider has reduced, remove it from the heat. In a separate smaller (2 quart) saucepan, combine the reduced apple cider, sugar and spice mixture, butter, and heavy cream.
- Return the pot to medium-high heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, do not stir the sauce. Leave it untouched. Let it boil until the thermometer reads 248 – 250ºF (firm ball). Keep a close eye on it. It doesn’t take long to reach this temperature.
- Immediately remove caramel from heat and pour it into the prepared 8-inch pan. Let it sit until cold and firm–about 2 hours.
- Once the caramel is firm, use your sling to transfer the block to a cutting board. Run your knife under hot water and cut the caramel into preferred sizes.
- Sprinkle with a bit of Fleur de Sel and wrap each one in a square of waxed paper, twisting the sides to close. The Fleur de Sel will help prevent the waxed paper from sticking to the caramel.
Notes about Sugar Stages
- For some reason, most of the recipes say to bring the caramel to 255ºF. At this temperature the caramel is at the hard ball stage. The candy will be hard and not malleable. Not sure why all the recipes report the wrong temperature.
- Soft ball, 234° – 239°
- Firm ball, 248° – 250°. Used for chewy caramel candy.
- Hard ball, 250° – 268°. The sugar is no longer malleable.
- Soft crack, 270° – 290°
- Hard crack, 300° – 320°
Here’s a list of the stages of cooked sugar: