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Divas on a Dime: Simple apple cider caramel perfect for autumn

Are you ready for the flavors of autumn? Apples? Check! Cinnamon? Check! Ginger, cloves and nutmeg?

Check, check and check! Caramel? Check!

They’re all here in this rich, buttery caramel sauce. It’s made with a base of reduced apple cider for tons of bright apple flavor. Imagine biting into a juicy caramel apple. Now, imagine that flavor as a caramel sauce. Sound good? Let’s do this!

This time of year, you can easily find fresh pressed apple cider. If you’re really lucky, you can get some directly from the orchard where the apples are grown. Since the base of this caramel is the cider, the higher quality you use, the more complex your finished caramel will be. However, I’ve used cheapo store brand cider to make this recipe and it’s still ridiculously delicious.

This is a very easy caramel recipe, you don’t even need a candy thermometer. But please use caution as boiling molten sugar is extremely hot. Like liquid napalm. This is not a recipe for the kiddies. We save a bit of money by using pumpkin pie spice rather than the individual components. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice add a quarter teaspoon each cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

APPLE CIDER CARAMEL SAUCE

What You’ll Need:

2 cups apple cider

1 cinnamon stick – optional

1 cup brown sugar – packed

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

5 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s How:

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the apple cider to a rolling boil. Add the cinnamon stick if using, if not using a cinnamon stick just add a little cinnamon powder with the other spices later. Let the apple cider reduce down to ½ cup. This is going to take around 30 minutes during which time your house is going to smell absolutely divine. Reduce the heat to medium and add the brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until the sugar is just dissolved. Let this come to a boil for five minutes without stirring. Next, incorporate the butter, heavy cream, pumpkin pie spice and salt and increase the heat back to medium-high heat. It’s going to bubble like crazy. Continue to cook for 10 minutes while the caramel thickens and darkens in color. Remove from heat, add the vanilla and stir to combine. Set aside to cool, the caramel sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Yields 1 ½ cups caramel sauce.

Now that we have this amazing sauce we must decide how to serve it. Decisions, decisions. My personal favorite is a spoonful directly into my mouth. But those of you with more impulse control will love this over ice cream, spooned on spice cake or pound cake, over baked apples, or to take your apple pie to new heights. It’s also amazing drizzled over popcorn, in your coffee, schmeared on cookies or cupcakes, and slathered on graham crackers. Of course, this is the ultimate caramel to serve with sliced apples.

Remember this recipe for holiday gift giving. Caramel is always the right size.

Fabulous Food by Patti Diamond from “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” – www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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