Apple Cider Caramel Sauce

Ah.. has it really been just about 20 days since I’ve posted last?  Alas, I have no excuses other than school, and life in general, has gotten extremely busy.  I have lots of recipes lined up that I just haven’t gotten around to posting.  I’m starting with my absolute favorite that I’ve been enjoying every day since I’ve made it.

Apple Cider Caramel.  Now, I primarily made this because Perry’s Ice Cream was kind enough to send me their fall flavors to try – Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie.  I immediately began thinking about the toppings I wanted to try with them, and apple cider caramel just sounded so.  good.  The apple pie flavor was my favorite – it’s very simple, which I like, with apple pieces and pie crust pieces mixed throughout.  Alex wasn’t a fan of the crust pieces, but he also isn’t that big of a fan of pie crust in general.  The caramel sauce really threw this ice cream over the edge into absolutely amazing!

I am so, so glad I made this caramel.  It tastes like fall in every sense.  It reminds me of the best apple crisp.  It’s excellent for dipping apples, and of course as a topping for ice cream.  I’m sure it’d be fantastic in coffee or tea, but I have yet to try that (if you do, be sure to let us know in the comments!).

This caramel is super easy to make, too!  It’s just like any traditional caramel recipe, using apple cider in place of water, adding 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and using coconut sugar (or brown sugar) instead of white.  What you get is a deep caramel flavor with a hint of apple and cinnamon.  It’s easier to make with a candy thermometer, since you can’t really tell a color change like you usually would when you use white sugar – the apple cider and coconut sugar make it a deeper color to start with.  I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I used my meat thermometer (which only reads to 220ºF).  I just sort of guessed once it got passed the 220º mark.  Once it gets nice and thick, you’re just where you need to be, so even if you don’t have a thermometer, it’s okay!

This caramel is absolutely addicting, especially right smack in the middle of fall like we are right now!  I try not to have too much sugar, but it’s way hard when this is in the apartment.  I can imagine it’d be wonderful for Christmas presents!  I may have to look into making some cute labels…

Make this.  You will not regret it.

*Disclaimer:  I am a part of Perry’s Inside Scooper’s Program.  As a member of this program, I receive Perry’s new flavors free of charge, in exchange for my opinion and feedback on their products.  I am not required to post about their product at all, and all opinions are mine.

Apple Cider Caramel Sauce
makes about 1 cup

1 1/4 cups coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup cream
1/4 t sea salt
1/2 t cinnamon

In a medium saucepan, combine the apple cider and sugar. Heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Brush down the sides with a damp pastry brush to avoid sugar crystals, and stop stirring.  Cook until the caramel reaches 310-315ºF* (not stirring), swirling every so often. Remove from heat, and add the cream slowly. Whisk until smooth (it may splatter a bit). Stir in the sea salt and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.  Serve with apples (or other fruit) and/or over ice cream.  Keep refrigerated.

*If you do not have a candy thermometer, cook until it begins to deepen in color and become thicker.  Watch closely so that it does not burn!