Smitten Kitchen Apple Cider Caramels

I’ve discovered how I’m surviving celebrating the holidays this year…these caramels & champagne.  (They actually do go surprisingly well together!)  I can just imagine the whole bowl quickly disappearing as family and guests linger in our cozy house, holiday music tinkling in the background, my nephews running by with their pockets stuffed with smuggled candies.  
I will say it takes some patience to cut and wrap each caramel, but hey that’s what the champagne is for or maybe even small hands eager to help.  I couldn’t resist unwrapping a piece for myself.

 When Deb of Smitten Kitchen announced the release of her cookbook I was already scooting my cookbook stack over to make a place for it.  Her blog is a holy grail of some pretty awesome recipes that won’t let you down.  First I had to email my bloggie friend Julia @ The Roasted Root to do a cookbook review.  We got together with Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out and Natalie @ Perry’s Plate and then I ran over to Barnes and Nobles to get my book.  It wasn’t even on the shelves yet haha, but the helpful guy went and dug them out of the back for me.  I was so excited to read it cover to cover, which I did that night!  I highly recommend it and these caramels….and champagne.

We each reviewed a different recipe so head on over to the other ladies for more!

Natalie @ Perry’s Plate - S’more Layer Cake
Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out – Plum Poppyseed Muffins  (Happy Birthday girl!)
More info about the book and where to find it HERE.

To WIN a free copy head over to Reading For Sanity!! 

Apple Cider Caramels 
4 cups apple cider (not juice)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt (I used regular salt, and would reduce it to 1 teaspoon)
8 Tablespoons (one stick) butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
Veggie Oil for your knife
Parchment paper and Wax Paper
1.  In a large sauce pan bring the apple cider to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1/2 cup, this will take 30-40 minutes.  Stir occasionally.
2.  Line a 8×8 square pan with the parchment paper and set aside.  While the apple cider is cooking assemble the other ingredients.  Measure out the heavy cream and both sugars, roughly chop the butter into chunks, and mix together the cinnamon and salt in a small dish.  
3.  When the apple cider has reduced, remove from heat and add the cinnamon, salt, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream.  Stir well and return to medium high heat.  Bring to a boil and heat until the mixture has reached 252 degrees F (use a candy thermometer), this happens relatively quickly – keep an eye on it!  
4.  Once it’s reached the desired temperature remove from heat and pour into your lined pan.  Let it sit at room temperature to cool for about 2 hours, or you can put it in the fridge.  Once the caramel has hardened pull the candy from the pan using the parchment paper.  To cut – dip your knife in the veggie oil every time you go to cut.  This will help prevent a sticky mess!  If you’ve put your candy in the fridge you’re going to need to let it warm up a bit before you can cut it.  Then wrap in squares of wax paper twisting the ends, or you could set them in mini muffin liners for a cute display.  Store at room temp or in the fridge, they are semi-soft at room temp and much more firm from the fridge.
Disclaimer:  I bought my own copy with my own money, I was not asked to do this, nor was it sponsored in any way.  I just love her book and blog.  Roger that.


  1. says

    Oh my. Until I read your post, I had never heard of this gal Deb or the Smitten Kitchen. Gotta check it out. And make these caramels. I actually have some cider in my fridge. :)

  2. says

    How strange! My exact plan for getting through the holidays is candy and champagne. Oh wait, that’s my everyday plan. Seriously. I eat hard candy at work all day to keep me going, and then I have a glass of champagne at least a few nights a week. I learned from a winemaker friend a few years ago that champange is NOT just for special occasions!

  3. says

    This looks like a perfect addition to the small plate of treats we give to the neighbors each Christmas. Looking forward to making them soon. Thanks again for all your wonderfilled and fresh ideas. Love you enthusiasm!

  4. says

    apple cider caramels sound absolutely amazing – maybe i will have to work up the courage and make them (i’ve never made my own caramel before!). and i love the idea of drinking champagne while making and eating them :)

  5. says

    Ahh I just got the cookbook in the mail, the catch is that I ordered it as a gift for my cousin and now I don’t really want to give it away haha! These caramels sound divine and a glass of champagne with them sounds even better.

  6. says

    I’m so jealous of your caramels! I’ve tried making caramel.. 3 times… and messed it up every time. Your’s turned out so perfect! Looks yummy :)

    • says

      Hi Samantha! Her book says they can keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge (in an air tight container) Let me know how you like them!

    • says

      thanks! I made them tonight but they’re a little hard. When you put them in your mouth and chew a little they soften up, I can’t decide if I want to give them away or not. Any suggestions to what I might have done wrong?

  7. says

    High five for taking on the recipe, caramels are so tricky. I did a bit of googling and found a lot of people with a similar problem when making caramels…it looks like their answer was to cook it to around 238-240 degrees F instead of 250. But some people do just fine at 250, its enough to make you crazy haha. Otherwise, you can try leaving them at room temperature to soften…I left ours out in a bowl and at one point they were almost melting! Sounds like that may help if you have been refridgerating them. Happy holidays!

  8. says

    So we made these this afternoon. Did you hear the orgasmic sounds coming from the kitchen as we sampled the pot-lickings? Ours turned out a bit soft, but hey, we are hoping there are still some to share with the neighbors as planned. YUM! Love the tang with the richness of the butter and cream.

    • says

      I wondered where that noise was coming from ; ) throw them in the fridge or freezer to harden. Mine were soft too at room temperature, especially if left out for a few days – they were melting. I’m so glad you tried them and enjoyed them!!!