One of my favorite food blogs is SmittenKitchen. Her recipes are great and she does a great job of describing how to make certain things. Also, I find her recipes pretty crowd pleasing so I usually go to her site first when it comes to baking. She released a book recently and when asked to pick out her favorite recipe, she managed to point to her Apple Cider Salted Caramels.
I read the post during Hurricane Sandy (while we somehow got insanely lucky and kept our power) and knew immediately I had to try this recipe. I love salted caramels and I love apple cider. This sounded like everything wonderful about fall.
So the day after the storm, I put on my boots and went a few blocks away to the grocery store in search of cider. By some odd fortune, there was one, single carton of cider left… laying down on an empty shelf.
The recipe is actually incredibly easy. I know that a lot of people are intimidated by caramels and making candy, but it really just comes down to a bit of patience and a good thermometer.
I put mine into a silicon baking dish and they came out perfectly.
I sprinkled some flake salt on top of mine as well.
And I used my bench scraper to cut them into perfect squares.
And managed to get through the cutting only eating one…
But these little nuggets of heaven didn’t last long as I rolled them in parchment paper. I think I ate almost half during the next hour. They were freakin’ amazing.
And they got accolades from my office. Perfect little candies.
I made them a second time and I think that the cider I used impacted the final texture. It just refused to reduce to the same syrupy consistency of the first time, even after I cooked it for twice as long. I went with it, and they still tasted GREAT, but they were a bit stickier and harder to handle. I had to keep them in the fridge just to make sure they could be peeled from the wrappers. But still… delicious.
The recipe specifically says to use unpasteurized cider, but I couldn’t find that, so both times I used pasteurized cider that was in the refrigerated section. I’ll have to try a few more times (damn!) The first time around I used Red Jacket cider, so if you find that, I’d scoop it up for this recipe.
This recipe is going straight into the KEEPER section.