These apple cider caramels will put you in the mood for crisp fall air, your coziest sweaters, and trips to the orchard or pumpkin patch in no time flat. Made with boiled apple cider, these homemade caramel candies are jam packed with apple flavor.
Give it up for this gorgeous fall weather we’ve all been having this week!
Oh. Wait. It IS fall isn’t it? In spite of the 70+° weather and rain we’ve been having in the kingdom of perfect fall weather, aka New England, this really is the best season of all.
I don’t need to lament about what’s perfect about it – you ALL already know – but I do have to tell you guys that these apple cider caramels definitely are the perfect fall treat.
But these apple cider caramels? They’re portable. Like wrap ’em up and toss ’em in a zip-top bag and sneakily snack on them at work, portable.
I made them recently in anticipation of fall-ish weather and activities. My brother and his girlfriend came to spend the weekend with us – the city mice made it to the country – and we dined at a fantastic farm-to-table restaurant (poutine and duck lasagna!), late-breakfasted on biscuits and sausage gravy, and leisurely hiked 3ish miles at a local nature preserve in the glorious weather on Sunday. We followed our hike with a few lattes and then Tex-Mex snackies while we vegged out into the late afternoon.
Overall it was a great weekend (I’m still full) and these apple cider caramels definitely added to the fall-ness of it.
How to Make Apple Cider Caramels
And you know what? They were super simple to make too! I did cheat a little by using boiled cider rather than boiling down fresh cider to cut down on cooking time. But after you’ve got your boiled cider ready, it’s all bing-bam-boom (keep screwing down for the full set of instructions in the recipe card):
- Add cream, butter, and sugar, to the syrupy cider and boil for 5 minutes without stirring
- Stir in some salt and cinnamon
- Pour the caramel into a parchment-lined baking pan and allow to cool completely
- After the caramel cools, you’ll cut it into squares and wrap up your darling little homemade caramel candies.
It doesn’t get any easier than that to make your own soft caramel candy! The sea salt in the recipe balances perfectly with the sweet caramel and I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find these little treats just as addictive as we all did.
I hope you enjoy them!
Want to Bake with these Caramels?
You can definitely add these caramels to your baked goods! I made these caramels just so I could make these caramel apple crumb bars. And the are excellent!! You can also stuff some snickerdoodles with these caramels to make an over-the-top fall cookie!
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp flaky sea salt
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 4 cups fresh apple cider or a scant ½ cup boiled cider
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with two pieces of criss-crossed parchment paper, leaving enough on the end of each sheet to overhang the sides of the pan. Stir the cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl; set aside. Get your butter, sugars, and cream ready to add later and set them aside as well.
- If using boiled cider, skip to Step 3. In a 3- or 4-quart saucepan, boil the cider over high heat, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced and thickened to a dark brown syrup, about 35-40 minutes. You should have between ⅓ and ½ cup of boiled cider remaining in the pan.
- Add the boiled cider to a 3-quart saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, just enough to heat it through.
- Turn off the burner, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, sugars, and cream. Return the pan to the burner and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Over medium-high heat, boil the mixture until the thermometer reads exactly 252° F. During this time, the mixture will boil vigorously - take care not to get too close.
- Immediately turn off the burner, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the cinnamon-salt mixture. Carefully pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan and allow the caramel to cool at room temperature - this should take about 2 hours - or in the fridge after the pan has cooled down for a few minutes.
- Transfer the cooled and set caramel, using the overhanging parchment paper, to a cutting board. Grease a long, sharp knife or pizza cutter, and cut the caramel in 64 cubes. Wrap each piece in a piece of parchment or wax paper, about 3x3-inches large. Store the wrapped caramels at room temperature for up to 2 weeks (take note that humid air will cause the wrapped caramels to turn slightly wet - trust me on this one. This doesn't affect the flavor.).
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
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