Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Apple Cider Caramels (or not?)

The Menu:
Apple Cider Caramels
(for my Success in making these click here)

(Ok, so we are starting off good. This is the cream, reduced cider and spices)

(Here you see the sugars and cream, stirring to the first temperature) 

(Now you see everything incoorperated, stirring to that 248 degrees) 

(Looking good. Nice and thick. I think it's gonna work.) 

(The final Product. Oh I am so ashamed. What a gooey mess. As you can see, the tops look nice and thick, but to try and cut and package, now that is where it get's messy) 

(Ah, yes, the final product. At least it tastes delicious and will be a great compliment to vanilla Ice cream!)
The Original Recipe:
Well, I don't normally post my flops, but when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right? My husband (he is more of the baker/candy maker in the family) and I attempted to make these Apple Cider Caramels. They look easy enough, and we have made caramels before with great success. So, why not? They would be a great addition to some Christmas gifts I am giving this year. Well, then again, maybe not. These were a total flop. We made a double batch the first time. After deciding it wasn't turning out right, I decided to make a single batch to see if I could at least get some caramels out of it (thinking it was the doubling that messed up the first batch). Well, I know we did everything right. Both times. The times must be off on this recipe. It has to be. Right? I mean, it tastes phenomenal, and I kept digging into it with a spoon (oh, treadmill how I need you right now!).

Now don't laugh at me, the great (not) baker that I am, I decided, well, maybe if I heat the oven to 260 (hard ball stage on the candy thermometer), then I can throw it in the oven in the pan and bake it to that temp. until bubbly for at least another 20 minutes. So, I did. Yep, I sure did. It didn't work. Is there any reason why it should have? It got thicker, but the underside of it stayed gooey. Yummy, but gooey. So, after being in the refrigerator until the evening (praying it would thicken to caramels), I tried it again. yep, not only did I do this once, but twice. Yes, I am the great baker (again. not.). Gee, wonder why it didn't work the second time?

So, back to the beginning, when life gives you lemons... I made it in to Caramel Apple Cider Sauce for Ice Cream. Yum! I just scooped it out of the pan into my small canning jars, heated it until bubbly in the microwave and plopped on the lids and listened for the seal to go "POP" and voila, Caramel Apple Cider Ice Cream Topping.

 I meant to do that. :o)

Apple Cider Caramels

Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from America's Dairy Farmers

2 c. high-quality apple cider (like Simply Apple)

1 c. heavy cream or whipping cream, divided

1 tsp. ground cinnamon*

Pinch nutmeg*

1/4 tsp. allspice*

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. light corn syrup

1 stick (1/2 c.) real butter, cubed

*If you'd rather, you can use 1 tsp. apple pie or pumpkin pie spice + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon instead of the full teaspoon of cinnamon plus the nutmeg and allspice.

Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. (keep a glass or silicone measuring cup handy so you can pour it out and back in again if you need to). Set aside to cool.

Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1" hanging over the edges for easy removal. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. Set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.

Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees.

Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Cut the caramels into 1/2" squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

1 comment:

Krista said...

I think that I like it better as sauce anyhow. Good save!