apple cider caramel

Sunday is family day in our family -- a time to relax and enjoy one another's company. While living in San Diego, Sundays meant we ventured out to explore places or attractions we had not enjoyed before; a new farmers market, Legoland, Disneyland, various dog parks and beaches. Living in So. California was one big adventure, however I love being back in the Midwest! The pace is slower, the people friendlier, I actually know my neighbor (and have spoken to them) and the cider is real!! I know you are probably thinking, "Has she lost it? The cider is real?!"

Shortly after moving to San Diego, I ventured to the grocer's and asked for apple cider. The clerk kindly pointed to the juice aisle. I looked at the bottle and thought to myself, "That is not the apple cider I know!" I asked him, " Where is the cider mill apple cider?" The confused clerk simply stared at me. It was then that I realized that they are not blessed with the cider mills that I had known and loved as a child. Hot cinnamon donuts fresh out of the fryer and sweet, tangy apple cider freshly pressed. I very vividly remember standing in front of the big red apple smiling as my parents snapped our picture. So, when my husband suggested a trip to the local cider mill, I happily agreed. The mill was packed with other patrons with the same idea, but the fall air was crisp and the excitement in the air was contagious. I stood in line with my children and husband, remembering the times I had done the same as a child. The donuts were exactly as I had remembered, and the cider too. I watched as my children pet the horses that carried patrons through the orchard in a hay wagon. "Life is good here," I thought to myself, as I devoured another cinnamon donut.

Baked Apples w/Cider Caramel Recipe

Yield 6


6 Apples (tart varieties work better)
4 tbsp. Vanilla sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1/4 tsp. Cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Core and peel apples, place 1 tsp. butter inside the cored apple. Whisk together vanilla sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Sprinkle onto apples. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes until fork tender.

Cider Caramel

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup apple cider
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract


Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don't worry - the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.

Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.


Place baked apples in a martini glass (or dish), drizzle with apple cider caramel. Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!