Homemade candy is easy to make with this recipe for Apple Cider Caramels with Ginger! This small batch of buttery caramels are full of apple cider flavor and garnished with crystallized ginger. The caramel candies are perfect to gift at the holidays, or keep all for yourself!
Homemade Apple Cider Caramel Candies
Even though the holidays have passed, I’m still going to consume apple cider. And probably lots of it. And while a cozy cup of hot apple cider is delicious, it is equally tasty in caramel candies!
It is after all a new year, with a new attitude, and a few ‘goals’, that I may or may not accomplish. And I’m going to need a little candy along the way.
This recipe for Apple Cider Caramels is another first for me. Watching how bakers on tv sometimes struggle with making caramel made me shy away. But I’m here to tell you, it is really pretty easy. And that is fantastic news for me, because I may need a few more batches of candy to get me through the year.
Small Batch of Caramels
A small batch of caramel candy is perfect portion control. Ok – so maybe it is still ‘bad’ to eat all of the candies by myself. At least their homemade.
By the way – homemade caramel is the best.
- It is easy to make
- Butter and sugar is never a bad thing (in moderation, of course).
- Add flavors to it – like apple cider and ginger!
- You can give it as a gift – literally, how sweet is that!
- Making caramel doesn’t have to be scary anymore.
Apple Cider Caramels with Ginger
Let’s talk about the flavor of these caramel candies. As the title suggests, you will taste apple cider and ginger.
Apple cider – Not apple juice. Apple cider is *usually* found in the produce section and it will have a ‘murky’ appearance. Doesn’t sound appetizing – but it will look like the apple pulp has separated to the bottom. Apple juice filters out all the apple goodness.
Ginger – Crystallized ginger is a great addition to this recipe. We are only using it as a topping, and it provides a spicy sweet bite to the luscious buttery caramel.
You may have noticed I have referenced ‘buttery’ caramel. And that is what I think a good caramel should be. You don’t actually taste butter. Rather a silky and creamy texture that makes these caramels divine.
Tips For Making Apple Cider Caramels with Ginger
- Use apple cider vs. apple juice – Cider keeps all the apple pulp in it – which is where the flavor is.
- Brown sugar vs. granulated sugar – I prefer brown sugar for the flavor.
- Use a good saucepan – Cooking sugar gets really, really hot. And we want a good saucepan to cook it evenly, and not get destroyed in the process.
- Reduce the apple cider – Reducing the cider makes the flavor much more robust.
- Add a cinnamon stick – Reducing the cider with a cinnamon stick adds another layer of flavor. Optional, but I do recommend it. Especially around the holidays!
- Watch the sugar/caramel cook – You need to keep an eye on the thermometer.
- Use a candy or digital thermometer – When sugar reaches a certain temperature, it is prime and ready to go to make candy. And we need to know when it is at that temperature.
- Use a small cake pan/vessel to cool and set the caramel – Because this is a small batch, we want to use a small vessel. Otherwise the caramels will be too thin. I used a 6×6 inch cake pan.
- Cool the caramel at room temperature – It will sit on the counter for a while for the caramel to cool. After that, you can put it in the fridge to chill up – which also makes it easier (less sticky) to cut!
More Caramel Recipes
- Cinnamon Caramel Nut Crumble Bars
- Maple Syrup Caramel Sauce
- Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing
- Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls
Apple Cider Caramels with Ginger
- 1 cup apple cider (reduced to 3 tablespoons)
- 1 small cinnamon stick (optional)
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- crystalized ginger, finely chopped (optional)
- Line the cake pan (or loaf pan) with two pieces of parchment, long enough hang over all sides of the pan. Lightly grease the parchment in the pan – either with softened butter or cooking spray.
- In a heavy duty saucepan, heat the apple cider and cinnamon stick over medium heat until it reduces to approximately 3 tablespoons. This may take 15 to 20 minutes.1 cup apple cider, 1 small cinnamon stick
- Once the apple cider has reduced, add the brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt to the saucepan. Stir until combined. Use a candy or digital thermometer – Cook the caramel over medium heat until the sugar reaches 240F to 245F degrees.¾ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup heavy cream, ¼ teaspoon salt
- The caramel will be hot! Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the caramel cool at room temperature. Once it has cooled, sprinkle the ginger on top. Transfer to the refrigerator to set.crystalized ginger, finely chopped
- Once ready to serve, gently remove the caramel from the pan using the parchment paper slings. If any caramel ran behind the parchment paper in the pan, use a knife or offset spatula to loosen it from the pan. Cut the caramels into desired shapes and sizes. You can wrap individual pieces in small strips of parchment or waxed paper.
- Store leftover caramels in the fridge. They will last several weeks.
- Serving Size – This is a small batch recipe that is easily doubled. Use a larger 8 or 9-inch pan.
- Yield – The number of caramels you get will depend on how large you cut them.
- Pan – Use any pan you prefer to cool and set the caramel in. Keep in mind it is a small batch and the pan should be smaller so the caramels are not too thin.
- Sugar – I prefer to use brown sugar when making caramel – it has a more robust flavor. However, you can use granulated sugar 1:1 if you prefer.
- Storage – I recommend cutting and wrapping the caramels in wax paper or parchment and keeping them in the refrigerator. They will last 2 to 3 weeks.
about the author ...
I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!
I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!