It just occurred to me yesterday that Christmas is seriously less than two months away! TWO MONTHS! I’ve barely done any shopping ( although it feels like I’ve already spent a small fortune on the gifts I have bought), I haven’t planned any cookies, I haven’t even asked the rest of my cousins if they want to do a secret Santa thing again this year.
I blame my upcoming vacation, and the fact that this weekend is filled with so much crap I may explode at some point (business dinner on Friday night, looking at a house Saturday morning, picking up a sweet new chair for my living room Saturday afternoon, getting carpets cleaned late Saturday afternoon…blah blah blah). So I made myself section off two whole hours on Sunday just to do a few trial runs of at least one cookie or candy I’m making for Christmas.
After letting Josh go through the possibilities in my Pinterest recipe book, he decided he’d like to be the official taste tester for Apple Cider Caramels. I found the original recipe on this lady’s blog, which is hilarious as well as having awesome ideas.
Of course he would choose the one damn recipe that I was a little iffy on making. To be honest I haven’t even attempted to make a caramel in at least four years. It’s tricky. It involves watching the sugar like a hawk, and having a good candy thermometer on hand. Oh, and lots of pot holders. I’m not saying that I’m notorious for burning myself, but…
Anyways the candy is supposed to look like this:
Look at how pretty that is! I’m sure mine won’t look anything like this. Thus the test run. I figured I’ll have loads of time to perfect it if the taste is good, but the presentation needs some tweaking before I actually hand these out to people. I’ve even found red and green wax paper squares to wrap the final product in. I think it’ll look super cute in a decorated mason jar or something. Lord knows I have enough of those (my cousin works at the Ball mason jar factory).
Wish me luck on my first winter candy making attempt of the year! I’ll update when I have a decent looking candy ( and Josh approves on the taste…because honestly he’d eat a candy even if it was poo shaped as long as it tasted good).
When I set aside two hours to do this, I fully intended to be finished with the dishes in the dishwasher by the two hour mark. This took the full two hours. To be honest, I figured I’d ruin this awesome recipe around 45 minutes into cooking. But it actually turned out decent.
One of the longest parts of this process was taking about 2 cups of cider and reducing it all the way down to 1/3 of a cup. Boiling the holy hell out of it isn’t an option, as it will bubble out of control rather quickly. Plus I was cooking on an electric range which I hate. I feel like I have no control over the heat and every burner on my stove heats differently to top it off. Lame. Thankfully while the cider was simmering away (made the whole house smell lovely), I had time to mix the cream and spices in another bowl, and attempt to work with light corn syrup and granulated sugar to speed up this already lengthy project. The cider went into the fridge to cool, and I moved on…
This is sugar, corn syrup, cream, and a little water. It’s a gross texture until the sugar dissolves. It’s this milky white color and it virtually has no smell until it gets to about 230 degrees. When exactly 234 is reached, you add the rest of the cream, spices, reduced cider, and butter, then heat it back up to 248 degrees. This part seriously took forever. I was afraid to even push it that much as I haven’t made caramel in forever, so the cooking probably took a little longer than necessary. But it didn’t burn, and that was my main goal, afterall.
All finished. I didn’t have a square baking dish clean, so a circle one did just fine. I lined the dish with wax paper, poured the super hot caramel in, then covered it in foil. I left it out all night, and it made the whole kitchen smell like awesome.
Next morning I cut everything into bite sized pieces, wrapped a few more in wax paper and put the rest in the fridge. I took them into work, and I think they’re currently being eaten by my Mother, who says that they’re very awesome. Soooo I’m calling this pin a WIN!!!!! It wasn’t that hard to make, just time consuming.
Finished product, half gone already…and it’s not even noon. Keeping this recipe for sure.