Wisconsin Wants You To Use More Heavy Cream: Spiced Apple Caramels

A few weeks ago, I noticed that Bourbonnatrix, another member of Baked Sunday Mornings, had made some lovely-looking apple cider caramels.  I had never heard of apple cider caramels, but it seemed like such a tasty idea that I couldn't wait to try it.  I also had some leftover apple cider after making applesauce for the Baked Explorations Caramel Apple Cake, so making these caramels was a perfect way to use it up.

Bourbonnatrix used a recipe that can be traced back to Our Best Bites, who in turn adapted it from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  I thought that I would just try the original recipe from the Wisconsin dairy folks.  I came to regret this decision soon enough.  Both the original recipe and the adaptation have you start by reducing apple cider to one-sixth of its original volume.  I didn't have any problems with this step, although when you reduce cider this much, the resulting liquid is almost gelatinous in texture, like aspic. 

It was the actual caramel making that was a problem.  The recipe has you mix one and a half cup sugar and one quarter cup corn syrup, with no other liquid.  You're supposed to simmer this mixture until it reaches 234 degrees.  However, there was so little liquid that I had a difficult time even moistening all of the sugar, much less getting it to dissolve.  It was a total mess, and even when my thermometer read 234 degrees, not all of the sugar was dissolved.  I debated what to do, and just decided to proceed with the rest of the recipe, and I dumped in the reduced cider, heavy cream, spices, and butter.  I crossed my fingers and eventually, everything came together and looked like a smooth caramel.  But it was pretty dicey there for a while.  Once the mixture reached 250 degrees, I poured it out into a parchment-lined pan, and it set up quite nicely.

The resulting caramels were the color of unfiltered cider, with specks of cinnamon and spices visible.  They were nicely chewy and tasted exactly like spiced apple cider mixed with caramel.  In other words, they were absolutely delicious.  I definitely plan on making these again throughout the fall -- although I intend to try the adapted recipe from Our Best Bites. It uses significantly more liquid during the first step of making the caramel, which seems like the much better way to go!

Recipe: "Spiced Apple Caramels" from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  But if you try to make these caramels, I suggest you try the adapted recipe from Our Best Bites, here.


Bourbonnatrix said…
glad you liked them! they look great! now you've got me craving them again!