Apple Cider Caramels and Pumpkin Pie Fudge

I recently started a Cuisine Club at my school so the other principal members and I decided to bring some Thanksgiving themed food to our first general body meeting on Tuesday. I decided on pumpkin pie fudge because another member stole apple pie and then caramels. I've been wanting to make these Apple Cider Caramels ever since I saw the recipe for them from the Sugarpunk blog a few years ago but I was too intimidated...and now it is time, because I've decided to trust my $5 candy thermometer from wal-mart and build a good relationship with it. So I'm in a candy phase now.

Candy candy I love you a lot
but I am afraid you will make my teeth rot

There's a little poem I just made up about candy.

Anyway, the caramels are RIDICULOUS! Ridiculously good.Well I'm actually not really a fan of caramel apples but that's what they taste like. EXACTLY. A little too apple-y for me though, but again, I'm not a caramel apple person. They're perfect for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas or just for eating...and the directions are so clear that they're actually easy! I swear!

The fudge was okay ... I'm not sure if I'm overly critical of what I make or what but it just tasted okay to me. It had pumpkin and spice flavor and felt like fudge but I feel like something was off. Also, on medium heat the fudge scorched the bottom of my pot and I don't think it was supposed to do that... but if you're a big pumpkin pie fan then you should try it! It's not bad, it's just not for me. What I will be making that is pumpkin-y are these pumpkin squares that I tried at a potluck recently that were the most amazing pumpkin thing I've ever had in my life. ever. Will find the recipe and make it soon.

Apple Cider Caramels

Prepare an 8x8 inch pan that is lined with two oiled pieces of parchment paper.

2 c apple cider
Reduce to 1/3 cup, set aside.

2/3 c cream
6 tbsp butter
2 cinnamon sticks
Heat to boil, set aside, then rewarm right before adding it later

1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c corn syrup
1/4 water
Cook to medium amber

Add cream, butter and reduced apple cider all at once, stirring constantly (it will foam up – use a good size pot).

Cook to 250 degrees, using medium heat – it should take around 5 minutes

Pour into your prepared pan. (I didn't have fleur de sal so I sprinkled a little salt and more cinnamon on top of the caramel for extra flavor) Cover and let sit (or refrigerate) until solid.

When ready, used a well oiled sharp knife to cut caramels.

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 generous cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
9 oz white chocolate, chopped
7 oz jar marshmallow cream (fluff)
1 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234 degrees.

Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 8-inch square pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool cut fudge into squares. Fudge will last a week or two in an air tight container

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