I am not huge into candy making during the holidays. I tend to leave that to my Nana. She is famous for making huge baskets and tins filled with truffles, chocolate covered cherries, fudge and other Christmas goodies. I dabble in fudge making, maybe make some cookies..... and then there are caramels.
I have seen many recipes for salted caramels and cider caramels in the blog world for a long time now. I've always steered clear of them simply because I hate making anything that calls for a candy thermometer. I go through candy thermometers like you wouldn't believe. I think I buy a new one every single Holiday season. I break them, lose them.... who knows what with them.
This year I was determined to make some candies before I lose the new thermometer. First thing on the docket... make your own caramel candies. But not just any caramels. Woodchuck Hard Cider Caramels! I think it's at the point where I could write a book on recipes using Woodchuck.
These caramels are perfectly soft and chewy. A slight tartness from the boiled cider, but evened out with rich caramel sweetness and a bit of sea salt.
Salted Hard Cider Caramels
(Recipe Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
2 cups Woodchuck Hard Cider
1/4 tsp apple pie spice
4 tbs of butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt
In a sauce pan add hard cider and bring to a boil. Reduce down 1/4 a cup.
Mix in sugars, butter heavy cream and apple pie spice. Over medium heat bring up to about 252 degrees on your candy thermometer. If you don't own one. Don't fret, to test your caramel have a cup of ice water ready. Dip your spoon in the hot mixture and then immediately into the ice water. When the caramel hardens to the consistency you want in a chewy caramel it is done.
Immediately remove from heat and pour into a parchment paper lined bread pan.
Sprinkle with sea salt and allow to cool until hardened.
With a very sharp buttered knife, cut caramels into 1 inch squares.