Every so often, my friend Tenaya and I get together and build a cheese board. She brings the cheeses and I come bearing preserves and other treats. A few weeks ago, we had a little mid-afternoon party for two in which we paired a log of downy goat cheese with apple cinnamon caramel, cranberry caramel, and crunchy caramel popcorn.
The cranberry caramel is essentially a version of this strawberry caramel I made for Simple Bites many moons ago (8 ounces of cranberries cooked with 1 1/2 cups of water, and then pureed until very smooth). The only change I made was to cook the caramelizing sugar to 285F rather than 250F (for a deeper caramel flavor).
I made a batch of this oven toasted caramel corn to go along with the cheese and preserves. In our minds, this array would be a fun spread for New Year’s Eve, and that’s the perfect night for a sweet, crunchy treat.
Tenaya and her brother Andre have had two cocktail-centric books come out this year (The New Cocktail Hour and Turner Classic Movies: Movie Night Menus) and so she whirred up a creamy, nutmeg flecked cocktail. Make sure to check out Tenaya’s post about our board.
However you celebrate the arrival of the New Year, I hope it’s a very happy turn of the year!
Apple Cinnamon Caramel
For the apple puree:
- 2 pounds apples
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the caramel:
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and four half pint jars.
- Wash the apples. Quarter and core them. Place them in a saucepan with the water and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the apples are quite soft.
- Pour the cooked apples into a blender carafe and add the cinnamon. Puree until very, very smooth. You should have about three cups of apple puree.
- Combine sugar with water in a small sauce pan. Place over medium-high heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sugar reaches 285°F and darkens to the color of a tarnished copper penny.
- Do not stir the cooking syrup, instead hold the handle of the pot and gently swirl it to move things around.
- Once the syrup has reached 285°F, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the apple puree. It will bubble, spatter, and appear to seize up, so take care.
- Stir puree into the sugar until it is a smooth sauce and return the pot to the heat. Continue stirring and cooking, until the sauce reaches 218°F.
- Remove caramel from heat and funnel into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Okay, I admit you had me at “cocktail” but then I saw the recipe for the oven roasted caramel corn. My son would love that!
I love this idea but when I tried to make it I ended up with what can only be described as super concentrated apple butter… not caramel-ish at all. Any ideas where I went wrong?!
Hmm. You might not have gotten the sugar temperature high enough? It’s hard to diagnose without having been there.
I’m calling this, “The world’s most dangerous jam”, lol…hot spitting caramel apples are painful!
It’s deelish, though!
Do you peel the apples?
If you have a high powered blender, you don’t need to peel the apples because you’ll be able to whip the cooked peels into a puree. If you have a less powerful blender, peel the apples.