I feel like I might be living inside a sugar coma.
But it is a delicious sugar coma that can only be defended as “the holidays” and I’m destined to continue until the last piece of Rosca de Reyes is gone sometime around the second week of January.
These homemade chocolate covered caramels would make elegant sweet nibbles for your New Year’s Eve party. Delicious with a glass of bubbly and can be made today then set out straight from the fridge on Thursday night.
I’ve been wanting to make apple cider caramels ever since I read about them in Deb’s book eons ago. We are talking about sweet, unfiltered apple cider here, not the hard stuff that will get you tipsy, but straight up fresh-pressed apple juice. The best flavor will come from using unpasteurized, refrigerated apple cider. It gives that tart tang which make these caramels irresistible.
Deb’s caramels have heavy cream added at the end but I wanted to booze them up with spiced rum so I left that out. The rum plays off the cinnamon and salt in the caramel to give them depth, making cream unnecessary. I will mention that these are a soft caramel and are best kept in the refrigerator to keep them firm and chewy.
I hope you’ve got some exciting plans for the last night of 2015. If not, chocolate covered caramels and a glass of champagne seem about right.
Chocolate Cider-Rum Caramels Recipe
Delicious homemade cider-rum caramels dipped in dark chocolate make elegant gifts or party nibbles. Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen Caramels are soft and keep best in the refrigerator for up to a month or in the freezer for up to three months, well covered, of course.
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 40 mins
- Yield: 30-35 caramels 1x
- 4 cups apple cider
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup spiced rum
- oil for greasing
- 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
- Bring cider to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced by 1/2, about 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile line a heatproof 8 x 8-inch baking dish crisscross with parchment paper, leaving at least an inch overhang.
- Once cider is reduced, remove from heat. Add butter and sugars and attach a candy/deep fat thermometer. Return to medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring until well mixed. Boil, stirring occasionally until thermometer reads 252°F or hard boil stage, this could take anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Keep a close eye so mixture doesn’t boil over. Meanwhile mix salt and cinnamon together and measure your rum.
- Once caramel hits the correct temperature, remove from heat. Carefully mix in remaining ingredients (rum will spatter so be very careful) and pour into prepared dish. Let sit until firm, about 2 hours, or faster in the refrigerator.
- Using the parchment paper, remove caramels from pan and cut into small squares, greasing your knife between cuts for easier slicing. Place caramels on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer while you melt the chocolate.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until completely smooth.
- Remove caramels from the freezer and dip them one by one in the chocolate, using a fork to completely cover them, then lift them out of the chocolate with the fork. Tap the fork against the side of the bowl, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl then scrape the bottom of the fork against the side of the bowl to wipe off any extra chocolate. Return caramel to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining caramels. If you have any chocolate left over you can drizzle it over all the caramels to create a pretty pattern on top.
- Let sit until hardened then serve or keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
One More Thing
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