Note: This recipe has been modified from when it was originally posted for greater user-friendliness, particularly in dissolving the sugar.

First of all, I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday weekend! Aside from my little girl being sick, we had a great, laid-back week full of my husband being off work, shopping, great food, working on our house, movies, and enjoying the gorgeous Louisiana fall weather!

First, we’re so excited to announce the winner of our Silhouette giveaway! The winner is Tara who said, “My 4 boys love to craft and so do I. Woo hoo we could make some cool stuff with that baby! Thanks so much for your excellent blog and all of your fun giveaways!” Congrats, Tara! Please contact us within the next 48 hours to claim your goodies!

Speaking of goodies…how about a little Christmas candy to get you in the holiday mood? I’ve made caramels at Christmas (and only at Christmas because I love to wrap them about as much as I love a good root canal which, by the way, you might experience if you eat too many of these babies!) for a good 8 years now and I have my tried-and-true recipe, which I would share except for the fact that it is one of the new recipes included in our cookbook. Well, I got a stack of recipe cards from America’s Dairy Farmers and while I normally leaf through these kinds of recipes and either toss them or place them in a stack of stuff to try at some undetermined time, there were, like, three in this particular collection that I had to try ASAP. Like this one.

If you’re scared of making candy, caramels and peanut brittle are a great place to start because they’re very forgiving (don’t even get me started on toffee’s high-maintenance diva behavior). The main things you need are:

1) A heavy pot that is quite a bit larger than the contents of the recipe.
2) A reliable candy thermometer. The good news is that these are inexpensive; think a couple of bucks at Walmart or Target.
3) Lots of oven mitts. Just in case.
4) Patience and undivided attention. Candy-making is not the time to catch up on the life and times of Shiloh Pitt-Jolie.

This caramel recipe starts out like all the others: Sugar, whipping cream, butter, and corn syrup (which is NOT high fructose corn syrup before anyone accuses me of child abuse/mass murder/crimes against humanity). But then we add in apple cider (not alcoholic cider, for our friends not in the U.S.; just the high-quality, fresh-tasting, pressed apple juice) and awesome baking spices:

You really want that concentrated apple flavor, so first, place 2 cups of apple cider into a saucepan and boil it on high until it’s reduced to 1/3 of a cup. This will take about 20 minutes, give or take based on how big of a pan you use (the bigger, the faster). Oh, and your house will smell like an amazing little Christmas-y apple factory. This step can be done ahead of time if you’d like.

Combine the sugar, some water and whipping cream, and corn syrup in a large, heavy pot. Cook on low, stirring frequently, until the candy thermometer registers 234 degrees. In the meantime, cut the butter into cubes (you could just cut it into 8 tablespoons roughly along the markings on the wrapper) and set aside. Combine the whipping or heavy cream with the spices and reduced apple cider. If you taste it, don’t be horrified; it doesn’t taste great (or good at all. Let’s be honest.), but once you mix it with the sugar and butter, it is to die for. After it has cooled, of course. Please don’t fall victim to my foolish mistakes.

After the candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees, remove the pan from heat and slowly stir in the whipping cream mixture and then add the chopped butter. Do this carefully (a long oven mitt wouldn’t be the stupidest idea here); the mixture may sputter a little. Return the pan to low heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook, stirring frequently, until the thermometer reaches 248 degrees.

While the candy is cooking, line an 8×8″ square pan with parchment paper with the paper going up the sides and over the edges of the pan so the candy can be removed easily. Lightly spray it with non-stick cooking spray.

When the candy has cooked, carefully pour it into the prepared pan. Allow the caramels to cool completely on the counter or in the refrigerator.

When ready to cut, lift the edges of the parchment to remove the entire sheet of caramel. Cut the candy into 1/2″-thick strips


And then cut them again in the other direction, making a 1/2″-1/2″ candy. Of course, you can always cut these along different dimensions. I’m flexible like that.


Now comes the part I hate. Cut pieces of wax paper into squares or rectangles at least 3 1/2″-4″ on each side. Place a caramel in the center of each piece of wax paper…

and roll it up like a Tootsie Roll. Then twist each end. Like a Tootsie Roll.


It’s not so bad with the first few caramels. By the end, you will be willing your children to grow just a LITTLE bigger so they can help you wrap these stupid things. If only they weren’t so dang delicious. The caramels. Not your children.

These will stay good for a few weeks, especially if you refrigerate them in an air-tight container. They’re perfect for holiday gift giving and I guarantee you that you will get phone calls for how to make these if you send them to your neighbors/co-workers/child’s teacher.


 

 

 

 

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117comments

  1. 1
    Jasey says:

    I think I will be making these! Yummy!

    Happy Day,
    Jasey @ Crazy Daisy
    crazyjayzplace.blogspot.com

    PS – I posted my pumpkin spice pancakes with a link to your buttermilk caramel syrup, bragging it up! My family's syrup favorite!

  2. 2
    Jasey says:

    PPS – Your picture shows apple pie spice, but the recipe doesn't use it… was it just easier to photograph this way or is there another version you played with?

  3. 3
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Jasey–I meant to include that in my post–instead of using some of the cinnamon and other spices, you can use apple pie spice. I actually DIDN'T use apple pie spice because I like being able to control the levels of the spices a little more specifically, but you totally can use it if you like it! :)

  4. 4
    Angie says:

    Do you have to use wax paper to wrap them in or could you use colored tissue paper?

  5. 5
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Angie–You definitely want to use wax paper. :) Colored tissue paper would be adorable, but it would stick to the caramels.

    • 5.1
      Miranda says:

      You could have some colored tissue paper and wax paper and together (making sure that the tissue is not touching caramels) wrap the caramels that way. Some color but lots more work.

  6. 6
    Jenn says:

    what about colored cellophane??

    I will definitely have to make these this year… :)

  7. 7
    MEnderby says:

    Looks yummy. I'm not an experienced candy maker. Does it matter if I use unsalted or salted butter?

  8. 8
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Jenn–Colored cellophane could work; my only concern is that it might not stay wrapped very well. But you could give it a shot and see how it goes! :)

    MEnderby–Really, you can use either. There's a lot of salt in this recipe, so unsalted wouldn't be the worst idea, but I used salted butter when I made this batch and they came out deeee-lish. So I don't think it really matters. :)

  9. 9
    Danielle says:

    Just a thought on the wrapping of the caramels. I make huge batches of caramels every year and my husband has helped hone the wrapping process. You definitely want to use wax paper, we've tried cellophane and it doesn't stay at all. We use a small saw to cut one roll of wax paper in half, so you have two small rolls. Then I wrap the wax paper around a can, making a circle. Then if you press the circle down and cut both sides, you end up with lots of nice squares without taking nearly as much time as cutting them individually. As for cutting the caramels, line the pan that you are going to use to put the caramels in to cool with parchment paper and spray with nonstick spray. Then, when the caramels are ready to wrap, you can easily flip the pan over onto a cutting board. We've found that using a large pizza cutter is much easier than cutting individually (and much faster!). Then wrap (no short-cut for that!) This process saves us tons of time from how we used to do it. You can trip the edges of your wax paper if its too big. I can't wait to try the apple version of the caramels!

  10. 10
    WASHINGTON SOUTHWORTHS says:

    Sounds yummy! My hubby is the caramel maker in our house – one of those do it once and it's forever your job sort of thing. I do 99% of the baking, so I don't dare learn caramel making so I can always make it his job. Ha ha!! I may have to convince him to make these. :)

  11. 11
    Danielle says:

    One more thought– if you stick your caramels in the cold garage or fridge before wrapping, they are so much easier to work with!

  12. 12
    Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy says:

    Oh my goodness this looks amazing! I had no idea that you couldn't get apple cider outside the US (I'm in Canada) but now that I think about it… I've NEVER seen it in the stores! Gah! What am I going to do?! My grandma used to be the Christmas candy making queen and this reminds me so much of her, I'm definitely going to try this out! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  13. 13
    Analisha says:

    I am so excited to add this to my collection! My grandma's friend use to make black licorice caramel and it was to dye for. I also have a regular caramel using sweetened condensed milk (yikes that's why its so good) and now this one. I am tempted to make all 3 and give them away as gifts for Christmas! Thanks for a fun new recipe!

  14. 14
    theweckerlys says:

    These look so delicious; I will be making them for sure! Thanks for featuring a recipe from America's Dairy Farmers – what a great group!

  15. 15
    Holly@Life as a Lofthouse says:

    These looks so good! I have never made any kind of candy/ caramels before but I will be now!

  16. 16
    Shannon says:

    Help! I'm stuck on the sugar dissolving step! I am cooking it on low as per the instructions but the sugar will not dissolve! What am I doing wrong???

  17. 17
    Sally says:

    I'm such a Penzey's spice fan. It made me smile to see one of theirs in your post. Go Penzey's! If only they had one in Utah…..
    sigh

  18. 18
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Shannon–Try turning the heat up just a little and just keep stirring, it'll happen! :)

  19. 19
    Shannon says:

    Is the sugar supposed to completely 100% dissolve into the syrup? I have a syrupy substance but the sugar granules are still in there. I'm not sure how picky I'm supposed to be here, but I'm cooking it nearly on medium and if I got much hotter I think it will burn.

  20. 20
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Shannon–by the time you reach 234 degrees, it should be completely melted and syrupy.

  21. 21
    Shannon says:

    Yeah, that is totally not happening for me. :(

  22. 22
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Oh, Shannon, I'm so sorry!!! I know how frustrating that is! I don't know if you're up for trying again right now, but if you do try making these again, really try to make sure the syrup and sugar are as combined as possible, getting into all the nooks and crannies of the pan. Sometimes having a little lump of sugar in there will make things crystalize.

  23. 23
    Adriann says:

    Those look great! I'll take 2 dozen please =).

  24. 24
    Bethany says:

    i made them tonight. i had the same problem and couldn't get the sugar to dissolve. i added more corn syrup and then some water. it did dissolve eventually. they worked out great though and the flavor is so good. yum. mine look less shiny than yours and more.. i don't know.. opaque? still good.

  25. 25
    Carrian says:

    love that wreath!!

  26. 26
    Chelsea says:

    Yummy! What a perfect holiday gift! :)

  27. 27
    Em says:

    Okay, I am outside the United States; we do have "100% apple juice" available, but nothing like cider…. can I still try this recipe with plain juice or should I try to spice up the apple juice first? Should I still boil it down?

  28. 28
    The Hunts says:

    Oh no! Did I miss the Silhouette offer for $199? I thought I saw it here yesterday, and now it is gone… What happened?

    -April

  29. 29
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    April–Yeah, the Silhouette deal was only good for yesterday. I'm sorry!! What a bummer!

  30. 30
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Em–You should be fine with 100% juice. :) If you can find any freshly pressed juice, that would be really yummy, but don't kill yourself or break the bank doing it, you know?

  31. 31
    AJsGirls says:

    Kate:
    Could you use a Silpat instead of parchment paper?

    Also, at a cake/candy decorating store I have bought little pre-cut pieces of wax paper that are foil holiday colors/designs on the outside. Already cut and quite festive. :) But I do like the 'rustic' look of plain 'ol wax paper sometimes, too.

  32. 32
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    AJsGirls–I would just stick with parchement–you want a little bit to hang up over the sides of the pan so you can grab the whole slab of caramel and I don't think a silpat would fit in an 8×8", anyway. Oh, and thanks for the heads up on the colored wax paper!! Pre-cut would make my life so much easier, haha! :)

  33. 33
    Kaylan says:

    I made these last night and they are AMAZING!!! I had never made caramel before and it was raining, but they turned out SO delicious! I am a college student and work as a Resident Assistant, so I gave these out to the girls on my floor last night and they loved them too. Thank you for all your WONDERFUL recipes! I've not yet found one I didn't absolutely love!

  34. 34
    Sally says:

    I love homemade caramels! Can't wait to try this recipe.

    ps. Your candied coconut sweet potatoes totally rocked my Thanksgiving world!

  35. 35
    Maren and Nancy says:

    Oooooo yummy! Hahaha i liked that you didn't wrap all the caramels… i wouldn't have either!

  36. 36
    Amy says:

    How long do these last before they get stale? I want to make them for a bake sale in advance but don't want them to be stale. Thanks!

  37. 37
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Amy–You can store these up to two weeks in an air-tight container in the fridge.

    Hope that helps! :)

  38. 38
    Amy says:

    Thanks Kate! In that case I'm going to make them tonight! :-)

  39. 39
    PrillwitzKolak says:

    I was wondering who won the Silloute?? I didnt see any postingof it. Thanks

  40. 40
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    PrillwitzKolak–The announcement is in the second paragraph–her name is Tara. I'd link her profile, but the only information is her name. :)

  41. 41
    HeatherWasHere says:

    I faithfully attempt caramels every Christmas and they never turn out. It's tradition. But these DID! I was so amazed! I calibrated my candy thermometer first (it was 11 degrees off!) and it was so helpful to have the exact degrees rather than some vague soft ball stage directions. These are delish! I had them for breakfast. Thanks!!!

  42. 42
    Kara says:

    My sugar isn't really dissolving like I expected to either. I wonder, depending out where we are located, will it make a difference as to how hot we need to get the sugar mixture to be? Do you know?
    One person mentioned adding more water and corn syrup and it finally worked for her … so if I live in a dry climate, would that help do you think?

  43. 43
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Kara, are you using the revised instructions that have you add some cream, water, and 1/3 cup of karo syrup with the sugar? Because that should be enough liquid to dissolve the sugar. If you are using the revised instructions, try adding another 1/4 c. Of hot, hot water, but don't use any more than that.

    Hope that helps!

  44. 44
    Kara says:

    Yeah, I did that. I added a little tiny bit more water. It looked like syrup, but a bit cloudy (from what I could tell, it was simmering, so it was a bit hard to tell). I just decided to go with it anyways, and it seems to be working, and ya know, the cooled down caramel on the whisk and it tastes good. Lol. :)

  45. 45
    Lindsay says:

    I made these last night. Delicious and pretty simple. Thanks for the recipe. Em-I live in Japan, and I don't have Simply Apple. I found Mott's Freshly Pressed apple juice, and it seemed to work well!

  46. 46
    Stephanie says:

    Wow, these look yummy! I've never made candy before, but I think I'm gonna give it a try, after I get a thermometer. :) Just wondering if you've ever added nuts to this recipe or if you think it'd turn out ok?

  47. 47
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Stephanie–I'm the wrong girl to ask because 98% of the time, I'd rather not have nuts in my treats. But I bet you could…I just couldn't tell you how to go about doing it. :)

  48. 48
    K. Keller says:

    This was my very first adventure in making caramels and I happy to report it was a success. LOVE the flavor (did not love the mess it created!).

  49. 49
    Dirk 'n Juli says:

    Oh my goodness! These rocked my world! My husband can't stop talking about them! We used cold-pressed cider that we found at Walmart (Talbott's brand) and it was amazing.

    I know cider is mostly seasonal, so I was wondering if you could use a little bit of apple oil (the stuff that you use when you make homemade suckers) in case one can't find cider?

    The smell during cooking was amazing. I used pumpkin pie spice with the additional cinnamon, but next time I think ill use the suggested amounts of the seperate spices. I like to control the spices and pumpkin pie spice had a little too much of a clove flavor.

    These are our new favorite carmels! Thanks so much for sharing! Also, what is the difference between a Silpat and the Rou one? When I read reviews on Amazon.com it sounded like some people used them interchangeably. Id like to get them, but didn't know if just one of them would do. Thanks so much!

  50. 50
    Panda says:

    The revised directions were amazing and my caramels turned out fantastic! so delicious! I know I will be making more!
    Thank you!

  51. 51
    Krista says:

    just made these… i think i need to calibrate my thermometer, but that's not my issue. i was expecting them to be a bit more 'apple-y' any ideas on how it make it a bit more concentrated on the apple-taste? i tasted the concentrated apple cider and that stuff was amazing! i want it to taste more like that…

  52. 52
    PDOTTreats says:

    Can't wait to try these! I have wrapped hundreds of caramels and my favorite is the precut foil squares available at my candy supply stores and even Michaels. Don't use the paper in between the foil sheets, the caramels will stick to them. The caramels will stick to the foil wrappers if they get too warm or not eaten within a couple of weeks. My profile pic is an example of the foil wrappers, available in several colors.

  53. 53
    Virginia's Designs says:

    Hello Our Best Bites,
    I live in Far North Queensland, Australia (meaning its hotter then hell right now). I made these caramels using Nature First Apple Juice Concentrate. It was already thick and syrupy so didn't have to reduce. Cool! My only problem was that my caramels were so hard I couldn't cut them and had to break them into shards. This was my first attempt at candy of any sort. Could it be my thermometer?

  54. 54
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Panda–I'm so glad they finally turned out! :)

    Krista–You could start with 3-4 c. of apple cider instead of 2 c.–that will intensify the apple flavor.

    Virginia's Designs–Yep, it sounds like your thermometer needs to be calibrated–they probably cooked just a little too long! :)

  55. 55
    bigmacs says:

    I have made these twice in 3 days! The flavor is AMAZING!! My first batch turned out hard as a rock. Luckily I can pop those babies into the microwave for a few seconds and still eat them. I calibrated my thermometer thinking the problem was that. It was right on. So I compared the temp in the recipe to my grandma's caramel recipe. I went with her recipe's temperature (235 degrees) and they turned out perfect.

  56. 56
    Ryan and Angela says:

    How long do you let these cool for? Mine is still pretty liquid-y and it's been about an hour.

  57. 57
    Jenne says:

    I did them but they were to soft. I like them soft but not that soft. Do I need to cook them longer at 248 ?

  58. 58
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Ryan and Angela–They should be pretty solid within in an hour. They might have needed a few more minutes (THIS is why candy is tricky :) ).

    Jenne–Yeah, it sounds like yours needed to cook for a few more minutes. Same thing; this is what's tricky about candy.

  59. 59
    Monica Lifferth says:

    Okay, I made these last week and I swear there was salt in the recipe. Did you take out the salt? And I noticed you changed the directions. Thank you! My sugar, corn syrup mixture was not doing much till I added water.

  60. 60
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Monica–Yeah, I took the salt out. :) When I re-made them to make the directions more user-friendly, I accidentally left out the salt and I honestly couldn't taste a difference, so I decided to leave all that extra sodium out.

  61. 61
    D.I.M. Incorporated says:

    Can't wait to try these!

  62. 62
    Bonnie says:

    I need help, I've let the caramel cool but they seem a bit too soft. What should the consistency be like?

  63. 63
    Bonnie says:

    never mind, just saw your earlier response :-)

    BUT, are they salvageable… or do I need to start over?

  64. 64
    Tasha says:

    Just made these and they turned out perfect, even with two little helpers helping!! Thanks!!

  65. 65
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Bonnie–That's totally up to you. If they're soft enough to hold their shape, you can definitely cut them and wrap them. If not, you can always snack on them yourself and then cook them a little longer next time. :)

  66. 66
    M.W. says:

    I made these the other night and they turned out awesomely! So delicious. A little on the squishy side, so I know to cook them a tad longer next time, but still totally yummy. And because I was too lazy to buy the proper ingredients, I also made them with golden corn syrup (it's what I had), subbed in a half cup of brown sugar for white (ran out of the white) and used margarine instead of butter, and they still turned out. They really might be fool proof!

  67. 67
    Laura says:

    I am dying to make these for my students. However, I am nervous about the temperature. I have made my grandma's caramels lots of times, but I bring the temperature to 228 and the texture is perfect. Maybe this is a dumb question, but would it make sense to be that difference because of the different ingredients?

  68. 68
    Laura says:

    Yikes. I just boiled down my simply apple, and it has all these chunks in it now. Is that normal? Should I strain those out? Or did I burn it somehow and need to toss it?

  69. 69
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Laura, you're probably done by now, but if 228 works for your grandma's caramels, use it with this one, too–it's a reflection of your relative humidity, elevation, etc. and it will still work for these ones.

    As for the apple cider getting stuff in it, I would just taste it–if it tastes fine, it's probably some of the natural particles, but if not, it proabably burned.

  70. 70
    The Guinea Pig Club says:

    Okay I had a bit of a problem. After they cooled I cut them (I let them cool for several hours) – and then put them into another container without wrapping them (was gonna do it later). They morphed into a huge blob of caramel. I'm assuming they should hold their shape right? Any suggestions on what I did wrong? Love the flavor. Thanks!!!

  71. 71
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Guinea Pig Club–Yeah, they do that. :) You can let them stand in the pan for a few days, but as soon as you cut them, you have to wrap them or they'll morph back into each other. I'm sorry!!

  72. 72
    4*KowBoys says:

    Well, I just attempted to make these yesterday (all day long), and they were not a success. They taste GREAT, but mine would not turn into caramels. I have made caramels before with success, so I am not sure which part of this recipe went wrong? Oh well, I turned it into some great Caramel Apple Topping for Ice Cream.
    http://4kowboys.blogspot.com/2010/12/apple-cider-caramels-or-not.html

  73. 73
    Laura says:

    Holy cow, I decided to trust the temperatures in the original recipe (you girls have never led me astray yet!) and they are DIVINE!!! I seriously wrapped one, ate one, wrapped one, and ate one. My husband couldn't believe how few caramels the recipe made . . . but yeah, it's because I ate the rest. :) THANK YOU for another killer recipe.

  74. 74
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    4*KowBoys–That's so weird! Can you tell me a little more about what happened/what it looked like? Did it ever reach the temperature and they just didn't set up? Did you have a lot of humidity yesterday? Sometimes that can affect how candy turns out. I'm sorry it didn't work!!

  75. 75
    LuCDay says:

    These sound amazing, I can't wait to try them. Can the recipe be doubled???

  76. 76
    4*KowBoys says:

    Kate, I left the link in my previous comment, if you want to read/see pictures. It isn't humid here. We have the heater on day/night and everyone is getting shocked, lol. I know it's pretty dry in here (which reminds me that I need to water my plants…)Anyway, we boiled (and I had my husband help me becuase I am soooo impatient when it comes to candy making)until these temps. in the recipe. I think it really just needed boiled longer or until the hardball stage for it to work. 248 is just under that, and I think about 260 on our candy thermometer is the hardball. This is the only think I can think of. I used the same ingredients as posted and didn't change anything. It doesn't matter. I canned it into carmel apple topping and the rest is being spooned out of the bowl. lol. It was harder on top, but gooey (very gooey) underneath.

  77. 77
    Jasey says:

    How long does it take to make a batch for everyone else? Just wondering if i am really slow!!!

  78. 78
    Alexis and Justin says:

    Just wanted to share, I was doing some research on candy and it said that for every 1000 feet above sea level you should decrease the temp by 2 degrees for making candy. So like my elevation is 4865 so I should decrease the temperature by almost 10 degrees. Anyhoo, just wanted to share!

  79. 79
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Jasey–It seems like mine takes about 30 minutes.

    Alexis–Thanks for the heads up! :)

  80. 80
    Anna says:

    Okay, so I have a pan of this amazing stuff cooling on my table now. My house smells fantastic, definitely beats the stuffing out of any scented candle out there, but I have a problem. I keep wanting to taste it. And I know that if I try, I'm going to burn the heck out of my fingers and my mouth, not to mention that I'll ruin the perfectly smooth caramel, but it looks so beautiful! So here I am, trying to keep myself busy and blaming you for my current predicament. Sigh…how long did you say to let these cool? Are we there yet?

  81. 81
    Anna says:

    I had to come back and comment again…I just licked the pan clean and this is amazing. I had set a tiny bit onto the side to check the set, and it set up beautifully. Also, I saw caramels at a gourmet shop being sold in logs. Like a 9"x.5"x.5" square log wrapped up in parchment and a pretty sticker keeping the center from unwinding and two little ribbons on the ends. Kind of like a cut your own damn caramels system and since I too hate the individual wrapping part, I'm going with the logs. Think about it. It's genius.

  82. 82
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Anna, you're hilarious. And yes, a genius. Also, my new official theme of this holiday season is, "Cut your own damn caramels."

    For example:

    "Kate, I know it's last-minute, but could you please bring 300 decorated cupcakes to the party tonight?"

    To which I would reply, "Cut your own damn caramels!"

  83. 83
    4*KowBoys says:

    My Update from my blog
    (4kowboys.blogspot):
    I finally decided to give the recipe one more (or 3) try. I did everything per instructions. It still didn't work out for me and was gooey. I scraped everything off of the parchment paper into the pot, boiled to hardball stage, poured it back in the prepared dish and let it sit. It didn't work. Again, I scraped it back off of the parchment paper, boiled it to hardball stage, poured it back into the prepared dish and let it sit. Once again, it didn't work. It almost did. I could at least cut it, but then it would just blob out onto the paper and not hold its form. So I did the above process again, letting it simmer at the hardball stage for 5 minutes and FINALLY… we have caramels!! My only thought is that there is to much liquid in this recipe that it needs to boil for awhile at a low temp to hardball stage. This is the only thing I can think of. Though I didn't get caramels the first time out doing it again, I did get caramels. My husband is very proud of me for my patience and persistence with this recipe. The end result is delicious!

  84. 84
    Brooke says:

    Kate! This recipe ROCKS!! I had never made caramels before but this was so easy and they taste awesome! They remind me of those Caramel Apple Suckers! YUMMY! Thanks for sharing this.

    p.s. Can I double this or would that mess things up?

  85. 85
    Kate @ Our Best Bites says:

    Brooke! Yay!!! I'm so excited they worked! :) You know, I probably wouldn't double it, just because candy can be so tempermental and you just never know these things, you know? You could, however, make twice the cider syrup that you'd need so you wouldn't have to boil that down twice; that would save you a ton of time.

  86. 86
    Beth says:

    I made several batches of these for Christmas gifts. The recipe worked perfectly and everyone raved about them! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

  87. 87
    Julene says:

    I have now made these twice. Very yummy! I added a teaspoon of salt the second time I made them because a bit of salt tends to intensify flavors and I wanted to taste the apple a bit more. I think it helped. Also, I used my rotary paper cutter to cut the wax paper squares the second time and it took only about 5 minutes to cut 100 or more perfect little squares. Also, the second time I made them, I used the method I usually use to make caramel because cooking on low heat took HOURS! I just brought the first set of ingredients to a boil over medium heat (instead of waiting for it to reach 234 degrees) then slowly added the next set of ingredients and continued cooking on medium to medium-high, stirring continually until it reached hardball stage (a little tiny bit hard on outside when you bite it after pouring a bit into really cold water). That way you don't have to deal with a candy thermometer which may or may not be accurate and it took about a quarter of the amount of time to make, although there is a bit more stirring. They turned out just like the slow way!

  88. 88
    Alison says:

    Delicious recipe! Can't wait for your book to arrive:)

  89. 89
    Laura F says:

    So, too little too late I know, but I just found this recipe this morning and reading the comments had to share two things – first, if you're making caramels to take to a party or something and don't want to wrap, buy those little candy paper cups and just cut the caramels and drop them in. They look really cute on a tray. You know, the paper cups that look like really mini cupcake cups – it takes a LOT less time.

    And calibrating a thermometer sounds like something hard, or that you'd have to call your county extension office to handle. All it is is a fancy way of saying "stick your thermometer in a pan of water, put the pan on your stovetop and watch to see what temperature water boils on your thermometer." This can be different on different days of the week depending on air pressure (storms rolling in, etc.) So it's good to do periodically if your candy needs to be just the same each time you make it. Then you adjust your recipes accordingly. Most recipes assume water boils at 212. If yours boils at 209, then take three degrees of the temperature your candy cooks to. You get the picture. Anyway, easy peasy. Happy candy making! I can't wait to try these!

  90. 90
    Cathy R says:

    What about making this caramel for using Caramel Dipped Apples? I would imagine the temperatures would be different?? I make caramel apples all the time…even for sale!

  91. 91
    JoJo says:

    I know this post is almost a year old…but wandered over because I have heard awesome things about these caramels. I noticed that you made mention of Toffee’s diva like behavior…just wanted to pass along this link to a toffee recipe that I found a while ago – it has never failed me – and it tastes like Skor toffee. SCORE. LOL. The awesome thing about this recipe is it was done by an engineer – so it has lots of details, as well as giving you reasons for “why” you have do to what you have to do to make it work. http://www.cookingforengineers.com/recipe/159/English-Toffee

  92. 92
    mjfluke says:

    What altitude was your recipe created in? I know higher altitudes will make a difference in the temperatures you use. My thermometer is 8 degrees off most of my favorite candy recipes.

  93. 93
    Jenelle says:

    Oh my yummy-ness. Just made them because I’m craving fall, and just used the “Experimenting for Christmas Gifts” excuse. :) Heavenly! Thanks for sharing!

  94. 94
    Matt says:

    Do these actually have a caramel flavor? Usually in caramel making you bring the sugar up to 350F before adding in the fats (having cider in at this point is probably fine) to caramelize the sugars, which is an actual chemical change in the sugars that simple boring sugar into the heaven that is caramel. Then you add in butter/cream/milk and bring it back to 248F or whichever temperature you prefer for a particular consistency of caramel. My caramel consistency is best at 235, but that may just be my thermometer.

  95. 95
    Wendy Sewell says:

    Well, I know it’s almost a year later, but for what it’s worth you most certainly can get apple cider in Canada. Try farmers’ markets or even the supermarket in the fall.

  96. 96
    Theresa Sea says:

    Made these last night for a Halloween party at work-NEW FAVORITE. The apple flavor is subtle at first, and then just completely wows you over. Thank you! :)

  97. 97
    Renee F says:

    I made these this weekend for the first time. I did bump up the temp to medium-high to get it hot enough. They turned out great. My sister is having her c-section tomorrow and we are giving these to the nurses that are taking care of her. Plus your candy corn cookies too. Can’t wait to meet my neice tomorrow. We of course taste testes them and oh my goodness they are awesome. We will have a hard time giving them away. LOL

  98. 98
    ltg says:

    i made these today and they turned out perfect. i used Julene’s (commenter #87) instructions, as i don’t have a candy thermometer. i added a pich of salt too. for this first time, i was not too concerned about the shape, so i didn’t make strips, just dumped the whole thing on a small pan and cut squares from that rectangle. i have a almost 4 year old and and almost 40 year old who loved them. i guess i will have to make them again. thank you for the recipe!

  99. 99
    aubrianne says:

    what do you mean by “some water?”

  100. 100
    Sarah says:

    XD Second year making these for Christmas, and I completely forgot about a batch while watching Tangled, which I had never seen. (Way cute movie, btw!) Anyway, remembered about these a good 30 degrees over where they should have been, and though I was pretty sure they were going to be un-salvageable, poured them anyway. The hardened up to the point where I was able to shatter them like a glass candy, and they have a taste that’s similar to a brittle meets a Werther’s candy. So… my fail didn’t entirely fail! They still taste great, just in a completely different texture! I think I’ll try to get this consistency again, but make it a brittle with pecans or something in them.

  101. 101
    Tammy says:

    Ok- I made these and they were like hard candy. Where did I go wrong??

  102. 102
    Tammy says:

    Candy becomes hard at 250—so are they supposed to be hard or soft?

    • 102.1

      The temp for caramel is 250–the hard crack (or hard candy) temp is 300. My guess is either your thermometer is off (a VERY common problem; I’d say most home candy thermometers are off by at least a few degrees) or your elevation,

  103. 103

    [...] from Blondie’s Cakes and Our Best Bites, originally adapted from Eat Wisconsin [...]

  104. 104
    Nfisher says:

    Make sure of cooking long enough at 250F! Mine turned out too soft.

  105. 105

    [...] 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 [...]

  106. 106
    victoria says:

    These look delicious! How many does this recipe make approximatly. Every year I fill about 50 boxes full of treats for Christmas gifts and I thought these would be perfect to add in. Maybe 5 in each box so Im gonna need about 500 of these.

  107. 107
    Lauren says:

    I’m pressing 80lbs of apples into cider this week and I was HOPING such a thing as apple cider caramels existed. And YAY! Thank you for making my dreams come true. Is there any reason this recipe won’t work with fresh pressed, unpasturized apple cider? Thanks!!

  108. 108

    [...] Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites  [...]

  109. 109
    Michelle says:

    These are great! First caramel recipe I have ever been able to successfully complete!

  110. 110

    [...] Cider Caramels Recipe found at http://www.ourbestbites.com/2010/11/apple-cider-caramels/ and adapted by Our Best Bites from America’s Dairy Farmers   2 c. high-quality apple cider [...]

  111. 111
    Maggi says:

    For those making these at altitude, just remember to reduce the temp you simmer them to. Otherwise, you will find them a little harder than you’d like. :( I’ll remember this for next time.

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