I saw a recipe a while back for apple cider caramels. I got all excited to make them, but when I read through the instructions, it was on the stove top (and so required a candy thermometer). I keep meaning to get a thermometer, but of course I haven't yet.
I've also seen microwave recipes for plain caramel candies. I've never made caramels before, but I decided that it couldn't be too hard to put the recipes together and make apple cider caramels in the microwave. To my surprise it actually worked out really well!
The candy is firm when picked up, but as soon as you put it in your mouth it starts to melt. (No sticky teeth!) The flavor is definitely apple cider, but there is also a rich buttery caramel flavor. I was worried that the spices would make the candy gritty, but it was actually pretty smooth.
I am sure I'm not the only one that liked these because I took these to a few houses for Thanksgiving, and very few people only had one piece.
It is a very simple recipe, all you need to do is mix the ingredients together and microwave. (That really is it!)
Keep these caramels in the microwave after wrapping them. They can be kept at room temperature for a several hours before getting soft and sticky, but make sure you don't set them in the sun or something. They melt very easily. (Which is why they melt so well in your mouth.)
10 Tablespoons Butter
3/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Cups Apple Cider (Reduced to 1/3 Cup on the stove)
1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
Put all ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 6-10 minutes*, stirring every 2 minutes. Line an 8"x8" dish with wax paper then cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let set in the refrigerator and cut into pieces. Wrap these pieces in wax paper. Store in the refrigerator.
*An important note on cooking times: When I first cooked the caramels, I microwaved them for 6 minutes, and when I poured it into the pan to set up, they were way too soft and sticky to wrap individually. I decided to try and just pop them into the microwave for another couple of minutes, and it worked like a charm. When they set up after that, they were super easy to slice and wrap... and most importantly... they were easy to unwrap too! (When I was stirring the batch that set up properly, it was still liquidy, but there was definite resistance while being stirred.) If you would like to make this into a sauce, you should be able to just cook the caramel for less time in the microwave. The opposite should also work to make the candies even firmer, but I haven't tried it myself.