So I saw these, and thought "um, yum." I could not form words other than "those would look good on my blog." Thus, I had to make them. This was my first time making candy without my mom's supervision. I remember when I was a kid coming over to my grandma's and seeing rows and rows and pans spread out all over the house full of home made candy. The only thing I was allowed to do was stir the sugary syrup. Making these caramels brought back a lot of good memories. It's too bad all my hard work and hours of effort turned rock solid almost immediately the minute it left the hot burner. I was so upset and disappointed- yet determined so the next day I got right back up and started again. So without further adieu, I would like to present my first ever batch of caramels!
I've got a lot of pictures of these babies... fair warning!
2 cups Simply Apple, apple juice (found next to the Simply Orange in your grocery store's juice department)
1 cup whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 cup brown sugar (or white sugar)
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
Other things you will need:
large stock pot and a medium sauce pan
glass measuring cup (or one that can stand up against high heat)
Pour apple cider into medium sauce pan, boil on high until it reduces to 1/3 cup- about 20 minutes, this is where the glass measuring up comes in handy. Once it's reduced, set aside to cool, but not too cool or else it will turn into a jelly (I found that out the hard way). If that does happen, put it back on the heat and stir.
Line an 8x8 inch square baking dish with wax paper leaving about an inch over the top for easy removal, and spray generously with cooking spray and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup whipping cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
In large stock pot, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup whipping cream plus enough water to reach the 1/2 cup mark. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves, insert the candy thermometer and simmer until it reaches 234 degrees Fahrenheit. This took about 45 minutes for me, and because of the altitude my candy never reached that exact temperature- you can tell when it should be removed. The candy will turn dark in color and begin to thicken, the bubbles will look differently as well. Don't over cook.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream and cider mixture- might splatter a little, be careful. Add butter a little at a time in cubes or spoonfuls and mix until well incorporated. Return to low heat and re-insert candy thermometer and cook, stirring frequently until the mixture reaches 248F, about another 30(ish) minutes. Again, mine never quite got that hot- you can tell by the texture and color etc. Again, don't over cook. You'll end up with toffee instead of a caramel. Trust me!
Remove from heat and pour into prepared baking dish. Let cool completely before removing from pan (with the wax paper). Cut horizontally... (I used a pizza cutter)
Then cut again vertically...
You can kind of make whatever size caramels you'd like... I ended up cutting these in half again to about the size of a Tootsie Roll. Cut wax paper into 2x4 inch squares, and wrap each individual caramel, and twist the ends, also like a Tootsie Roll.
Wrapping them is very tedious, I wont lie. If your caramels stick to the wax paper as you are trying to remove each little square, don't worry mine did that, too. Just go slow and use a knife to scrap them off... patience young Padawan.
Makes about 80 Tootsie Roll size pieces, and 40 average caramel size pieces.
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