I’ve always loved making candies at the holidays – particularly nut brittles and toffees. This year, I’m trying something different. And I have the Portland Village School to thank for the inspiration: Earlier this month, I had a table at that school’s craft fair. During the last hour, the volunteers brought each of us vendors a couple of apple cider vinegar caramels to help us get through the last bit of the afternoon. The caramels were delicious, and I loved how the ACV cut the sweetness of the soft, rich caramel. So, I set out to come up with my own version to make for gifts this year.
Angela’s ACV Caramels (with Pink Himalayan Salt)
-4 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (you can use Bragg’s or homemade) (Note: when making this recipe for myself, I prefer a stronger ACV flavor, and use 6 Tbsp of vinegar)
-3/4 C brown sugar
-3/4 C granulated sugar
-3/4 tsp sea salt
-1 1/2 C heavy cream
-2 tsp vanilla extract
–Pink Himalayan Salt for sprinkling
NOTES ON SAFETY: Candy-making involves boiling sugar, and can be dangerous and cause serious burns, so work carefully. Always work with a bowl of ice water nearby in case boiling sugar splashes on your skin. Also, as the caramel boils, it will bubble and foam up quite high in the pan – make sure your saucepan is deep enough to prevent the boiling sugar mixture from overflowing.
1)Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
2)In a saucepan on medium heat, add the apple cider vinegar and simmer until vinegar has reduced by half
3)When vinegar has reduced, add the sugars, heavy cream and sea salt to the saucepan. Continue to cook on medium, and add a candy thermometer to the pan.
4)Cook, scraping down the sides now and then, until the mixture reaches 240 F. This will take several minutes, and the boiling mixture will foam and rise up quite a bit – if it approaches the top of the pot, stir it back down.
5) When the caramel reaches 240 F, immediately remove from the heat and carefully stir in the vanilla extract. Quickly pour into the parchment-lined pan.
6)Let pan of caramel sit on the counter for 2-3 minutes and then sprinkle with desired amount of pink Himalayan salt. Transfer pan to the refrigerator for a few hours until caramel is set.
7) To cut the caramel: Turn caramel out onto a lightly buttered cutting board. Coat both sides of your knife blade thinly with butter. Cut into squares. If you find the caramel is tearing or sticking instead of cutting, re-apply butter to the knife.
Place each square in a rectangle of wax paper and twist ends to close. Store caramels in the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.
Recipe Variation: Omit apple cider vinegar. Heat caramel mixture to 245 F, remove from eat and add vanilla extract to the caramel, also add 2-3 Tbsp whiskey (be careful, the alcohol will boil immediately when it contacts the hot caramel). All other directions are the same.
Recipe © 2015, Angela Baker. Please don’t reprint or use photos without permission. Thanks.