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!
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 8x8 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.