Hot, spiced apple cider is one of my favorite drinks during the fall; its aromatic smell warms my heart. The only thing better than apple cider is caramel made from apple cider. Make a batch of these sea salt apple cider caramels and share it with your friends or hoard it all for yourself (it’s up to you) once you’ve harvested the fruits of your labor.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Cool Time: 2 hours or more
Total Time: About 3 hours
Servings: 64 1-inch pieces
4 cups apple cider (recommended: buy at the local farmer’s market)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (or 1 ½ teaspoons normal salt)
8 tablespoons butter, cut into slices at the tablespoon marks
1 cup white sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
Bowl of ice water
Vegetable oil for cutting
1. Line 8″x8″ straight-edged metal pan with parchment paper. TIP: If you don’t have a square pan, use a 9-inch metal cake pan.
2. Boil apple cider in large, tall pot for 30 to 45 minutes, until liquid is reduced to about ½ cup of apple cider. Stir occasionally.
3. While apple cider is boiling, mix together cinnamon and salt in small bowl.
4. While reducing apple cider, mix butter, white sugar, brown sugar and heavy cream in separate bowl.
5. When apple cider looks like it’s almost ready, prepare bowl of cold water with several ice cubes.
6. When apple cider has been reduced to about ½ cup or less, remove from heat and stir in butter, sugar and heavy cream. Put pot back on medium-high heat and let boil for about 5 minutes or less. To check if caramel is done, drizzle some caramel into bowl of ice water and see if you can bend it into a small ball. TIP: If you have a candy thermometer or deep-fry thermometer, the caramel is done when it reaches 252ºF
7. Immediately remove caramel from heat and stir in cinnamon and salt mixture.
8. Pour caramel into prepared pan. (Warning: Caramel will be very hot! Be careful not to burn yourself.)
9. Place in fridge and let cool for 2 hours or until firm.
10. When you’re ready to cut caramel, put it on cutting board. Make sure to oil your knife before cutting, so that the knife doesn’t stick to the caramel.
This dessert is perfect for impressing your parents and friends at Thanksgiving. Go ahead, give it a try!