And I've got all three of those things rolled into one right here, right now - today. The first official day of Fall. See how I'm looking out for
I happened to love them. My daughter likes them. All three boys think they're gross. What!? A strange bunch, I tell ya. I don't know what's not to love. I think that, that they think, that I ruined the glory that is caramel by adding apple cider and out-of-the-ordinary (for caramels...in their minds...) spices. Apparently I'm sharing my life with a bunch of caramel purists.
Apple Cider Five-Spice Caramels
Soft caramels infused with a sweet and tangy apple cider reduction and speckled with warming spices.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: approx. 1 hour
Keywords: boil dessert butter cream apple cider candy fall
Ingredients (64 (1-inch) caramels)
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1 cup heavy cream, divided
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Five-Spice powder
- big pinch of sea salt
- 1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2-1/2 tablespoons water
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed (at cool room temperature)
Pour the apple cider into a heavy-bottomed pot, and set over high heat. Bring to a boil, and allow to reduce until you have 1/3 cup of thick, syrupy liquid. This should take about 17-20 minutes. If you're anything like me, you'll over-reduce. Three times. In other words, have extra apple cider at the ready - put the already reduced stuff into a measuring cup, and then continue reducing more until you can fill it. Set aside and allow to cool a bit.
Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over the edges (for easy removal). Pour in a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil and move it around, use a paper towel or your fingers to make sure it slicks both the bottom and the sides of the pan. Set aside.
Place 2/3 cup of the heavy cream into a small bowl along with the five-spice powder and the salt. Whisk in the mostly-cooled cider reduction. Set aside.
Add the sugar, remaining heavy cream, water, and corn syrup to a medium-large, heavy-bottomed pot set over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar melts - clip a candy thermometer on the side. Simmer on low until it reaches 234° F.
Carefully lift out the thermometer and set aside for a moment; remove pot from heat. Gradually whisk in the cream mixture and the cubed butter until they are fully incorporated. Set back over the heat and re-attach the thermometer. Continue to cook until the temperature reaches 248° F (this will take around 30 minutes...roughly...give or take).
Slowly and carefully pour the mixture into your prepared pan. Allow mixture to sit at room temperature until completely cool (usually at least 3 hours). At this point, you could cover the pan loosely and refrigerate, if need be.
When ready to cut, lift the square of caramel out of the pan, using the parchment overhang. Cut in any size you like - if ijts been refrigerated for a while, let sit for 45-60 minutes to allow for easier cutting. Conversely, if they are too soft from sitting at a warm room temperature, refrigerate them for a few minutes.
I cut mine into 1-inch squares, which gave me 64 individual caramels. Wrap in wax paper and store in an airtight container at cool room temperature, or in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks (if they last that long).