I am a big fan of everything caramel. But for me, it has to be the real thing, always! Artificial caramel flavor is the worst not to mention the harmful chemicals used to create caramel color and flavor. This is why I always make my own caramel at home. It is such an easy process that I don’t see why anyone would want to eat all the chemicals when you can have the real deal!
I already have a caramel recipe on the blog if you are after that, which I perfected and tested over the years working at bakeries. It works all the time and has never failed me. I have a jar in my pantry/fridge most of the time.
This apple cider caramel recipe is built on top of my original. I wanted to take my caramel to another level by adding apple flavor and tang to it! The best way, I thought, is to add apple cider. It is not an invention by any means, but I use a slightly different method and a recipe.
So I went ahead and made my own apple cider for the first time of course ( I will be doing it regularly though, here after) using some fresh apples I bought at a farmers market… This step is completely optional. You can use store bought apple cider to make the caramel. If that’s the case, skip the cider story and jump straight to the caramel recipe.
I have always loved apple cider ever since I first tasted it. Love it as a warm drink to sip away by the fire or in a boozy cocktail in summer. I have never tried making my own up until very recently. I ended up with a pile of apples after a visit to the farmers market and decided to give it this go. I also love to make apple butter and apples and oats bread using my extra apples.
The following recipe gave me roughly about 37oz of cider
The remaining apple pulp is a great addition for muffins and cupcakes. This works similar to apple sauce but far less sweet. You can replace some of the butter/oil or eggs with this pulp. #Zerowaste
Okay, onto our cider caramel now….
Apple Cider Caramel
The apple cider is then reduced to make the caramel. By reducing the cider, the flavor is concentrated and hence we can use as little as 1/4 cup in our caramel to get the flavor through. The more you reduce the sharper the flavor will be. For this recipe, we want to reduction to look like maple syrup. Not too watery and not too sticky.
Make sure to strain the cider again to remove any remaining apple pulp. The pulp will settle at the bottom of the bottle when you let it sit for some time so you can carefully pour out the clear cider. Or pass the cider through a cloth strainer/cheese cloth. This is not a crucial step but will yield a brighter caramel.
The tang from apples and orange cuts right through the richness of the caramel. This works the same way the salt works in salted caramel. I have to alert that this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so make half a batch and see if you like it before going all in and making two gallons. Yes that’s right, if you like it, as much as I do, then you’d want to make a double batch!
This caramel can be drizzled over desserts or mixed with buttercream or cream cheese frosting. Also great spread over toast, drizzled over fruits or cereal. You might have to resist eating it by the spoonful.
Store the caramel in air tight containers for up to two weeks at room temperature and in the fridge for longer. If you keep opening the jar constantly, it is always better to refrigerate it. I like to divide my caramel ( or any condiments for that matter) into several small jars. That way I can preserve the rest while I’m using one jar.
The recipe for the banana cream pie is also on the blog