Apple Cider Caramels
Last Saturday some friends of mine were getting together at my house to do a photoshoot. Of course, I couldn't be left out of the action, so I invited Chef Tess to come a bit early to make these amazing caramels. (She shares her side of the story on her blog.) What can I say? These are without a doubt the best caramels I have ever had. The brilliance of adding cider to caramel defies quantifying. I will forever be in awe of SugarPunk for dreaming these up.
Okay, okay on to the goods! Here is the recipe with some of SugarPunk's notes:
Apple Cider Caramels
2 c apple cider
Reduce to 1/3 cup, set aside.
2/3 c cream
6 tbsp butter
Heat to boil, then set aside.
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c corn syrup
Cook to light brown. I have found that my idea of "light brown" and what works with caramel aren't at all the same - I generally heat it to something more like medium-dark amber
Add cream, butter and reduced apple cider all at once, stirring constantly (It will foam up - use a good size pot). Oh boy, they’re not kidding! I always, always scald myself when doing this step.
Cook to 250 degrees, using fairly low heat - you want to take about 10-15 minutes to get it up to temperature. Now this, I just find to be incorrect. The sooner you can get it up to the mid-range of soft-ball, the better. I do use medium heat, but it has never taken longer than 5 minutes to get to temperature.
Pour it into a 8 inch square baking pan that’s been lined with two pieces of oiled parchment paper, one in each direction - this creates a “sling” to pull the caramel out of the pan. This has always resulted in a layer of caramel approximately 1/2 inch thick. If you want thicker caramels (and I usually do), you can use a smaller pan, or I've made a spacer from cardboard that turns my pan into approx an 8x6 pan.
I also sprinkled a little fleur de sel over the caramels at this point, as I find them far too sweet if they don't have a hint of saltiness about them
I've decided that this recipe is my new be all and end all recipe for caramels. I just can't get enough!