I’ve always been slightly intimidated by making caramels from scratch. I’m pretty sure it’s because the one time I did make a batch, they were rock hard and inedible. I’ll have to admit though, I didn’t use a candy thermometer. Instead, I tested it using the water bath method for the soft ball/hard ball stage. This may work for some people, however, I am not one of those people. To ease back into having confidence in my candy making abilities, I decided to start with making a caramel sauce using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s Cookbook. The recipe is for Apple Cider Caramels. The one element I changed in this recipe to turn it into a sauce rather than a caramel chew was the temperature. That’s where using a candy thermometer became crucial. I went right below the “Soft ball” temperature to create this dreamy sauce that I now want to drizzle and dip everything on and in.
The secret to making this sauce with apple cider (not apple juice) is reducing the cider down by boiling it. This takes it from 4 cups to a little less than 1/2 cup in about 30-35 minutes.
Once the cider is reduced down, add in the caramel sauce making components – butter, sugar and heavy cream.
I’ve been dipping apples in this stuff ALL week…
4 cups of apple cider (not apple juice)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 stick of unsweetened butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
In a large sauce pan pour apple cider in and bring to boil to reduce liquid down to about a 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally. This process takes about 30 minutes.
Once cider has reduced down, add sugar, butter and heavy cream to the pot. Bring heat to a medium-high and clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.
Keep a watchful eye as you don't want sauce to go past 220 degrees Fahrenheit. Once heat is reached, stir in cinnamon and salt.
Pour sauce into a heat safe jar, like a mason jar. Seal shut with a lid and store in the refrigerator. To warm sauce for drizzling, heat jar for 5 minutes in a hot water bath, or microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in between until you reach optimal drizzling status.
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cookbook.