2 quarts apple cider
3 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
Neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed, for brushing
1) In a large saucepan, simmer the apple cider over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup, about 1 hour. Pour the reduced cider into a bowl.
2) Line a 9”x13” rimmed pan with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray (or butter). In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream and condensed milk and bring to a simmer over moderate heat; keep the mixture warm over low heat.
3) In another large saucepan, combine the sugar with the reduced apple cider, corn syrup, water and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Carefully whisk in the butter until melted. Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture until incorporated. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until a golden caramel ring forms and the temperature reaches 245° on a candy thermometer, about 45 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon, allspice and cloves and scrape the caramel into the prepared pan. Let cool completely, then refrigerate the caramel overnight.
4) Lightly brush a sheet of parchment paper with oil, invert the caramel onto the parchment and peel off the foil. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the block crosswise into 1/2-inch rectangles. Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal. Serve or pack the caramels into boxes.
MAKE AHEAD: The wrapped caramels can be stored in a cool spot or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. The uncut caramel can be tightly wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks; cut just before serving.
***These chewy treats are like caramel apples in candy form, combining the tangy-sweet flavor of cider with buttery caramel. To create your own spin on them, use a flavored apple cider or add different spices, like ground ginger or black pepper.
From Food & Wine, December 2012 issue
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