Day 21: 24 Days of Green Christmas – Caramels as Edible Gifts

I was going to include this Apple Cider Caramels recipe in last weekend’s baking post but I didn’t get a chance to take photos. And good thing I rushed to take these today because they were being gobbled up preeeet…ty fast.

I usually make Chocolate Butterscotch Peanut Toffee as holiday gifts. But I wanted to try something different this year for an edible gift. And being that there’s apple cider (fruit) in them, if by a remote chance that some don’t end up actually leaving this house, I  won’t feel as guilty gobbling them up.

Making caramels can be tricky, I won’t lie. But after you make a couple of batches, you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll love giving them as gifts. The recipient will think you are a gourmet chef and longingly wait for your sweet indulgence annually.

Caramel Making Tips

The most important thing to remember about making caramels (or any candies) is to buy a good candy thermometer (even the good ones are very inexpensive but make sure to buy one that you can easily read and has small increments of degrees.) Also use a heavy pot that is bigger than the liquid portion of the recipe. It’s always best to have some maneuvering room inside the pot with the thermometer standing guard while your spoon is stirring. Make sure you don’t leave the stove area – this is not the time to catch up on your book “War and Peace” or on how the Kardashians are doing after the divorce. If you blink, you’ll want to divorce the caramels for making a fool out of you.

Organic Apple Cider Caramels

Adapted from Our Best Bites

  • 2 c. organic apple cider – from a local farm is even better.
  • 1 c. organic heavy whipping cream, divided into 2/3 C and 1/3 C
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1 1/2 c. organic sugar
  • 1/3 c. light organic corn syrup
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) organic butter, cubed

You’ll need:

  • Medium saucepan
  • 8″x8″ Glass pan
  • Small Bowl
  • Large heavy saucepan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Baking spray
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Oven Mitts

Directions:

  1. Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. It might sputter so put a lid on it until it’s reduces quite a bit. You will have to keep a heat resistant measuring cup nearby so you can pour it out to measure. I had to do this like four times! The reduced syrupy cider will boil down fast so keep an eye on it. When you have about 1/3 C, take the pan off the stove and set aside to cool.
  2. Line an 8″ square glass pan with parchment paper with about 1-2″ overhang for easy removal. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 C cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
  4. In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream and enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer in low heat until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
  5. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees. This will take about 15 minutes but it will get bubbly. Watch the thermometer as it gets close to 248 degrees as the hot caramel can surpass that temperature very quickly, making the caramel to get too hard. So keep a close watch on it. 
  6. When the temperature reaches 248 degrees, remove the pan from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. 
  7. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cut the caramels into desired size – about 1/2″ squares – and wrap each caramel in wax paper. Store in an airtight container to give as a gift or store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

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8 comments
Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking
Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking

These look awesome! What a great gift idea. Who wouldn't want to receive these delicious looking caramels!!

ecokaren
ecokaren

Thanks Alicia! They are really yummy. I am so addicted to these. For Valentine's Day, I am going to make Cappuccino Caramels. Stay tuned for that recipe! Hope you had a great holiday!! Have a Happy New Year!

Jennifer @noteasy2begreen
Jennifer @noteasy2begreen

These look so wonderful! I've been wanting to try caramels for some time, though my friend cautioned that my cranky old electric stovetop might not be ideal. Do you make yours over gas or electric?

ecokaren
ecokaren

I have a radiant stovetop so there's a full contact with my heavy pot and it boils very quickly and evenly. Why would your electric stovetop not be ideal? Is it the coiled electric type? As long as there's a full contact and you use a heavy (bottom) pot, I don't see any reason it shouldn't work. Just stir frequently so it doesn't burn on some spots. And use one of those flat bottom spatulas so you can scrape better. Try it! And let me know how it turns out.

ecokaren
ecokaren

Oh...don't blame me if you get addicted to them, like I am. Nom.nom....nom.

La Alicia
La Alicia

those look absolutely delish!

Mary
Mary

My mouth is watering just looking at these photos! I can't wait to try your recipe!

Rikkianne
Rikkianne

Oh my! Those look wonderful! I read your mention of them the other day and was hoping you'd share :) Thx lovely lady!

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  1. [...] farm fresh apples are transformed into a comforting fireside cup of hot cider for you to enjoy . Day 21: 24 Days of Green Christmas – Caramel as Edible Gifts But I wanted to try something different this year for an edible gift. And being that there's apple [...]