Contest-worthy apple cider caramel candies #Recipes#candy#dessert#gifts December 29 | Guest post by Colleen If you've been reading for awhile, you've already seen Colleen's renovated Minneapolis house and her outdoor movie party. This post originally appeared on her blog, New Little Old House. I spotted a recipe for Apple Cider Caramels on and just had to try them. They were delicious and well worth the work! The ingredients are quite simple: 2 cups high-quality apple cider 1 cup heavy whipping cream (divided) 1 tsp. ground cinnamon Pinch of nutmeg 1/4 tsp. allspice 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/3 cup light corn syrup 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter The recipe advises using a heavy pot (like a Dutch oven) but I don't own one. My regular nonstick cookware worked fine, though I made sure to stir a lot to prevent scorching. You will need a candy thermometer — no getting around that one. Related Post From sweet treats, to healthy greens, and complete meals: Yummy gift ideas Got some people on your holiday list that are hard to please? That's okay! Because sometimes the best way to someone's heart is through their... Read more Boil cider on high for 20-30 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 cup. Set aside to cool. In a large saucepan or stock pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/3 cup whipping cream plus enough water to reach the 1/2 cup line on the measuring cup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Then simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees (my candy thermometer labels this as "thread" stage). While the sugar is cooking, combine the reduced cider with 2/3 cup cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. When the syrup reaches 234 degrees, remove from heat and slowly mix in the cider mixture. Cube and add the butter. Stir until the cream and butter are fully blended. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees ("firm ball" stage). Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper or foil. Coat with a bit of cooking spray or vegetable oil. Pour the caramel into the pan. Cool in the fridge or on the counter. I was a little intimidated by making candy just because I thought something would go wrong, especially when I didn't use a Dutch oven. But this was really easy and has given me the confidence to try candy again. Cooking did require 90 minutes of pretty much constant attention, but not much skill. Slicing and wrapping is time-consuming, too! One batch makes at least 60 or 70 medium-sized caramels. I chilled my pan in the fridge overnight so I had to let it soften up somewhat (but not too much) before slicing. I should have waited a little longer to make uniform slices easier. I recommend cutting up all of the papers beforehand so the caramels don't get too soft while wrapping. I wrapped each piece in waxed paper (which required larger pieces of paper than you would expect). It wasn't bad once I got the hang of it. Behold, a tasty pile of apple cider caramels! They were a hit with my family and I plan to make them again soon for the employee dessert contest at work. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Colleen Colleen enjoys home improvement, city living, the great outdoors, volunteering, travel, and learning new things. She lives with her husband in Minneapolis, a city they both love. http://newlittleoldhouse.tumblr.com/ PREVIOUS Tips from teacher: 5 ways to keep teens from frying your nerves NEXT First aid for broken vinyl toys Show/Hide comments [ 10 ] Those look so good!!! I bet they smell good while you cook it, too. My whole family would flip for these. Reply These sound amazing! Since we live near an apple orchard that makes the best apple cider, I'm always up for a new recipe that uses cider! Reply What would you substitute in instead of corn syrup? I'm in Oz and we don't have it, I don't like the taste and I prefer sugar as its "healthier" (lol) Reply Hmmm good question! I am no expert, but I think that substitutions are a little delicate because candy textures can be finicky. My quick Googling seems to point towards simple syrup (sugar + water) as the surest alternative. People have also speculated about other kinds of sweet syrups. This is a good summary: http://www.ochef.com/256.htm I'd suggest planning enough time and ingredients for more than one batch if you're going to tweak anything, just in case. Let me know how it works out! Reply Cook's Thesaurus says golden syrup, molasses (aka dark treacle) or honey can be substituted measure-for-measure for corn syrup (http://www.foodsubs.com/Syrups.html). (For candy, I'd probably go for the golden syrup.) 2 agree Reply Agreed. The flavour of the molasses would probably overpower the cider. Honey would be my second choice after golden syrup. 1 agrees Reply …I just learned that it's hard to make candy while wearing a tired ten-month-old on my back. Let's hope I didn't ruin the candy (or the baby)! 1 agrees Reply Sounds delicious. And I have a 4 litre jug of cider left over from Christmas… Technically speaking, you could get around a candy thermometer, you just have to know what thread stage looks like. It's when the sugar solution starts getting these wiggly dark lines or threads between the areas were the liquid is bubbling. Firm ball stage is when you take a small amount of the liquid, drop it into water, and it forms a firm ball. http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html 2 agree Reply Late commentary; just made this for Christmas presents! Yum, and surprisingly easy for a large return; definitely the easiest addition to the candy bags in comparison to the truffles :3 Reply with nightwine on these – we (well, my husband the chef) made these last night and left them to be wrapped this morning . . . i found myself looking for the non-uniform pieces much like you might look for the broken cookies. aside from being tedious due to the constant attention you'd need to pay (i didn't pay any attention, god bless my husband) these are super easy and really delicious. i may have found a go to when i'm not sure what else to gift someone. so glad you shared these. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Participate in this conversation via e-mail No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.