Candy

Irresistible Apple Cider Caramels

4.69 from 16 votes
The perfect bite, the perfect chew, exists in this Apple Cider Caramels recipe! This is an essential fall and holiday recipe, one that you'll make year after year.
An unwrapped apple cider caramel.

Hi Bold Bakers!

Have you ever had the perfect candy? One that is both the perfect texture and the perfect taste that melts in your mouth just too soon — so you better unwrap another, and then another, and another so you can really enjoy the taste? (That’s a good excuse for eating so many, right?)

My Apple Cider Caramels are that candy.

After finding myself with an abundance of my Homemade Apple Cider, I wanted to put it to good use. These caramels, which I adapted from The Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, turned out to be the perfect useI can’t describe to you how insanely good this caramel recipe is! I put the salt and cinnamon in the caramel early, so it is there throughout cooking, and the result is out of this world!

Just a note, these are soft caramels; if you like them chewier, cook them for longer. Also, in case I didn’t make it clear before: THEY ARE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!!

A bowl of individually wrapped Apple Cider Caramels.

What Are Apple Cider Caramels?

Apple cider caramels are caramel candies that you make by simmering down fresh apple cider, adding butter, brown and granulated sugar, heavy cream, cinnamon, salt, and letting that simmer until it becomes caramel! It’s a beautiful process, really.

What You Need To Make Apple Cider Caramels

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • 8-inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • 2 Saucepans
  • Candy or deep-fry thermometer. (If you don’t have one, use a bowl of cold water, be sure to read my tips below.)

How To Make Apple Cider Caramels

I love this appley, cinnamony caramel so much, I can’t wait for you to try them. Here is how I make apple cider caramels (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  1. First, butter and line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. This is what your caramel will be poured into so it can set.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, simmer the apple cider until it reduces to a dark, thick syrup. This will take around 35 to 40 minutes. You should have about 2/3 cup in volume. While reducing, skim any foam and impurities that float to the top.
  3. Once the apple cider has reduced, remove it from the heat and pour it into a clean medium saucepan. Add in the butter, sugars, heavy cream, cinnamon, and salt. Place the saucepan on medium-low heat and attach the candy thermometer. 
  4. Let the caramel simmer until the thermometer reaches 250°F (125°C) and no longer. If it goes over this temperature, your caramels will be hard.
  5. Remove the caramel from the heat and pour it into your prepared pan. Let it sit and firm up for about 3 hours or overnight. 
  6. Once firm, cut into bite-sized pieces and wrap in wax paper or candy wrappers. 

A bowl of wrapped caramels next to an unwrapped Apple Cider Caramel ready to be eaten.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Apple Cider Caramel

  • Use my Homemade Apple Cider or a good quality store-bought cider.
  • Don’t be shy with the salt and cinnamon, they are what gives the caramels their amazing flavor!
  • To make beautiful, clear caramel, skim any impurities that float to the surface while simmering the apple cider.
  • I keep these at room temperature, but you can keep them in the fridge if you like chewier caramel.
  • No thermometer? Have a bowl of very cold ice water ready. When cooking the caramel, drop a tiny spoonful of it into the water. If you can pile it into a ball and it feels firm and chewy, it is ready. 
  • No brown sugar? Make your own!

How Do I Store Homemade Apple Cider Caramels?

You can keep these caramels at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. I don’t think they will be around that long, though! 

Make More Fall Recipes!

A close up of an apple cider caramel to show texture and interior.

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Irresistible Apple Cider Caramels Recipe

4.69 from 16 votes
The perfect bite, the perfect chew, exists in my Apple Cider Caramels recipe! This is an essential fall and holiday recipe, one that you'll make year after year.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 48 caramels
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
setting time 3 hrs
The perfect bite, the perfect chew, exists in my Apple Cider Caramels recipe! This is an essential fall and holiday recipe, one that you'll make year after year.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 48 caramels

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (32oz/900ml) apple cider (Homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 stick (4oz/115g) butter cubed
  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3oz/85g) dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (2 ½ floz/71ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt

Instructions

  • Butter and line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment. Set it aside.
  • Simmer the apple cider in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it is reduced to a dark, thick syrup, roughly 2/3 cup (5floz/150ml) in volume. This takes about 35 to 40 minutes on the stove. As it reduces, skim away any scrum/foam that floats to the top to ensure perfect looking caramels.
  • Once you are finished reducing the apple cider, remove it from the heat and pour it into a clean medium saucepan and add in the butter, sugars, heavy cream, cinnamon, and salt. Return the saucepan to medium-low heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side, and let it simmer JUST until the thermometer reads 250°F (125°C) and no longer. Keep a close eye on it because if it goes over this temperature your caramels will be hard to eat.
  • Immediately remove caramel from heat and pour it into the prepared pan. Let it sit until cool and firm—about 3 hours or overnight. Once the caramel is firm cut into bite-size pieces and wrap them in wax paper or candy wrappers. Store at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.

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E.S.E.

37 thoughts on “Irresistible Apple Cider Caramels

  1. Hi Gemma,
    This will be my first attempt at candy and I was wondering if I can use regular sea salt instead of flaky sea salt? I have really enjoyed so many of your recipes; thank you for doing what you do with such heart. Happy holidays to you , Kevin and Georgie… stay safe.

  2. These were incredible – first time making caramels and so much easier than I expected. My cider took a lot longer to reduce but I got it down to 2/3 as directed and the flavor is great. One question – mine seemed quite soft even after sitting overnight (I left in the pan and placed a piece of parchment over but not touching). I put in the fridge for a few hours to help cut in the morning but they are still squishy. Thoughts? Our house is not overly warm and rather dry right now. Many thanks for such great recipes!

    1. Well done to you, Hanna! I suspect the mixture of apple cider and other ingredients did not reach 250°F (125°C) . This can be tricky to tell without a candy thermometer. Have a bowl of very cold ice water ready. When cooking the caramel, drop a tiny spoonful of it into the water. If you can pile it into a ball and it feels firm and chewy, it is ready.

      Hope this is of help and you give it another try!
      Best, Gemma 🙂

      1. Thanks – I think I pulled the second at 249 and it wasn’t actually stable. Absolutely will do another batch soon. Thank you again for the great inspiration!

  3. I made them!! They are amazinggggggggg! I seriously recommend that you make them!
    However… I did have some problems (Which was to be expected since this was the first time that I’ve ever made caramel 🙂
    #1. I didn’t reduce the apple cider all the way down (I only got it down to 1 cup, instead of 2/3 cups), so that might have something to do with #2.
    #2. It was too soft and sticky, and I wasn’t able to cut it unless I got them reallllllllyyy cold. Any idea why???
    #3. Lol, not really a problem, but everyone’s (I have a huge family) eating them, 🙂 (That’s the biggest compliment they can give to a recipe…. so, seriously, try these!!)
    Thanks for the amazing recipes!
    E.S.E.

  4. Gemma, this recipe is excellent! I used a local fresh cider from one of our orchards and, just as you said, the apple flavor & perfume are amazing. Definitely will be part of my Christmas giving this year! Thank you so much!

    1. It should work , Michelle!

      The key is the sugar or sugar substitute used here is able to caramelize. monk fruit sweetener, erythritol, coconut sugar/maple syrup/light honey or other natural sugars instead of white sugar.
      But stevia, xylitol, splenda will not caramelize so will not work in this recipe.

      You can also get some inspiration from the vegan caramel here: https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/healthy-homemade-twix-bars/.

      Hope this helps!
      Do let me know how you get on, Gemma 🙂

  5. hi gemma,
    gr8 rcpe
    can u pls come up with a rcpe for the perfect garlic bread from scratch as i hv seen lots of rcpes but none of them work for me.

  6. I recognize that this is designed to be made to share with others, but I just don’t see that happening in my house. 🙂 Gemma, should we stir during any of the stages…either reducing the apple cider, or while making the caramel itself? Thank you!

      1. Oh my gosh! Gemma!! You have just cracked a ten year old mystery! I never knew why my caramel always got grainy, no matter what I did. Now I know! No more stirring! You continue to inform, amaze and inspire. Thank you!

    1. Hi there!
      I do not recommend it but you can give it a try. Prepare a bowl of ice water, periodically drop a small spoonful of caramel then try to form it into a ball. If it’s FIRM but not hard yet, the temperature is ROUGHLY 250°F (125°C). But this method cannot be very accurate which requires much experience. Keep a close eye on it because if it does not reach this your caramel may not stay on apples but it goes over this temperature your caramels will be hard to eat.

      Good luck!
      Gemma 🙂

  7. These sound delicious, how long can they be stored? How do you store them? I am thinking they would make great gifts.

    1. They are great gifts Kathy. Thats what I did with them.

      They will keep at room temperature for up to 4 weeks for sure but maybe longer. I just kept them that long. They will last longer in the fridge.

      Best,
      Gemma.

    1. Hi, Angie! I do not recommend it but you can give it a try. Prepare a bowl of ice water, periodically drop a small spoonful of caramel then try to form it into a ball. If it’s FIRM but not hard yet, the temperature is ROUGHLY 250°F (125°C).

      But this method cannot be very accurate which requires much experience. Keep a close eye on it because if it goes over this temperature your caramels will be hard to eat.

      Good luck with it!
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Hi Gemma, I would love to try this but I feel more comfortable trying out your recipes when I watch you make them 🙂 please make a video, & thanks for always replying

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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