There’s a mouse in the house. A big one. Are you afraid of mice? I used to be.
One night, eons ago, I came home from working the 3-11 p.m. shift at the hospital. The world was dark and still and quiet with everyone tucked away in their little beddie-byes. Except me. After being home just a short time I heard the baby begin to cry. I went to the kitchen to warm some milk. While reaching into the drawer beneath the oven for a pot (back then we didn’t have microwaves yeah, I know, I’m old, but I’m okay with that), something brown and soft and furry scampered right past my hand. I screamed (more than once) and jumped on top of the table (really!). The screaming not only woke my husband, but half the neighborhood too.
I’m much better now……only a little scared of mice.
But this one, this one is different. WAY different. Actually quite cute, excuse me, I meant to say, quite handsome, with gorgeous dimples. Oh, and he drives a white car. You may not believe this, but he also takes fantastic photos. Not only that, he’s a master at making almost nothing look like something …………. really something.
“There’s a mouse in the house.” That’s what I told my husband when he called on the way home from work one day this past week.
“Oh no”, he said, “are you sure? “
I replied “Yes, I’m sure ………….. and it’s a big one”.
“You saw it?”.
“Oh yes, I’ve seen it. I’ve seen him quite frequently.”
“Really? What do you mean?”
“Yes, really……….you know that big pan of Apple Cider Caramels I made?”
“Um, ah, yeah ………… um, what about them?”
“Well, it’s crazy …………. but I covered the pan with foil and put them in the refrigerator in the garage. I wanted to get pictures of them for the blog, but I knew we probably wouldn’t have time till today.”
“I think the mouse got into the fridg.”
“Yeah, he got under the foil and ate most of the caramels ………”.
“Um ……… um, I didn’t know you wanted to take pictures ………….. It didn’t happen all at once ……….. you were at work and ……….. well, I really thought I’d struck gold when I reached my hand under that foil ………. sorry…………”
Check out the photos! He is good at making almost nothing look like something, isn’t he? Really something! I’m so glad cause I would have hated not to share these unbelievably delicious, delectable autumn treats with you. You might be wondering, how I know that they’re so wonderful. – okay, okay, I admit it, I snuck under that foil a few times too. So maybe I should have started this post my saying “There are mice in the house ……….”. But that doesn’t rhyme, does it? …….. 🙂
I shared last week that I’d bought a big gallon of fresh apple cider and that I’ve been having fun experimenting with it in all sorts of recipes. These caramels are probably one of my favorites ………. but then………….. the Autumn-Spiced Apple Cider Caramel Sauce was pretty amazing ………… oh, and then there’s the Cider-Poached Puff Pastry Pears that I’ll be sharing on Wednesday …………. hmmm, let’s just say I have a feeling that you’ll love all of these recipes as much as we do. The ingredients for the caramels are simple; sweet cream, butter, sugar, apple cider, autumn spices and a splash of vanilla ………… the results; simply spectacular!
Go ahead and make a batch of these yummy caramels. They’re not hard, just take a bit of time. You’ll need a heavy-bottomed pot (to ensure the caramel doesn’t burn) and a candy thermometer (quite reasonable and readily available at kitchen stores and online.) Candy-making is a precise science and a thermometer will allow you to bring the caramel mixture to the perfect temperature, hence perfect caramels!
Do you have mice at your house? No, you don’t think so? Yeah, well I didn’t either ………. I’m just warning you ……….. 🙂
P.S. An update; I shared in my post last Friday about a dream come true for me. You can read more about it here, but I’ll be at a “boot camp” this week, studying French cooking at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. I flew to the Big Apple this morning and navigated my way up to Hyde Park, about an hour and a half north of the city, home of the legendary CIA. It’s a phenomenally beautiful area of the country. I spent the afternoon exploring and checking out my route to school.I have to report for orientation at 6:00 a.m. so I thought it might be good to know where I was going. My heart started beating a little faster when I saw the first sign and then almost popped out of my chest when I saw the school itself. Can you see why? Check out the picture below! I’m thrilled to be here and I’ll be blogging my experience this week so be sure to check back on Wednesday.
- 2 cups apple cider
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice*
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cubed
- Pour cider into small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to ⅓ cup; approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Line 8-inch square pan with buttered parchment paper or aluminum foil. In small bowl, combine heavy cream, salt, apple pie spice, cinnamon and reduced cider; set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Insert candy thermometer and simmer until syrup reaches 234°F.
- Remove from heat, remove thermometer and very slowly whisk in cream mixture (mixture will foam and may spatter). Add cubed butter and stir or whisk until cream and butter are fully incorporated.
- Return pan to heat, reinsert thermometer and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until temperature reaches 250°F. Remove from heat and pour caramel into prepared pan.
- Cool completely at room temperature or refrigerate until set. Once set, remove caramel from pan lifting out by parchment paper or foil. Cut caramel into ¾-inch squares or rectangles. Wrap each piece in small wax paper square, if desired, twisting at each end. Store caramels in airtight container in cool place or refrigerate up to 2 weeks.