Full confession: this started out as an apple cider blondie recipe. Toward the end of baking time, I peeked in the oven and saw that the batter was bubbling like hot sugar. Once baked and cool, they were soft and chewy and bursting with apple cider flavor.
But I was not convinced. So I tested the recipe several more times, playing with flour content until I was fully satisfied that the first go-through was not a one-time fluke.
Dude. Vegan, gluten-free, baked caramels. No candy thermometer, no stirring, no burning, no sticky pot.
Wait…that’s a bit of a lie. These caramels get their deep, rich apple cider flavor from apple cider molasses. And in order to make the apple cider molasses, your pot will get sticky, but don’t let that turn you off. Apple cider molasses is even easier to make than these caramels.
All you need to do is pour a half-gallon of apple cider into a saucepan.Cover it, let it come to a boil over medium heat, and then take off the lid. Place the heat on medium low-medium and let it simmer for a few hours. No stirring, no baby sitting. When you have about a cup to one and a quarter cups of cider left, take it off the heat right away and put it in the fridge. It will still look kinda liquidy, but when it cools it will be fat and thick like honey. I liked to do this step in the early evening, while I was still busy. It pretty much makes itself, so the only work was literally pouring the cider into he pan. Then I’d pop it in the fridge before I went to bed and when I woke up….gooey, amazing apple cider syrup.
It must be noted that this molasses is a treat all its own, perfect on peanut butter sandwiches and oatmeal and waffles. Stirred into rum and whiskey. The caramels require half a cup of this stuff, which means you’ll have a nice amount to play with afterwards.
Like any caramels, these will get hard and yucky if you don’t wrap them up, so do so as soon as you can. They are best on the first two days, but will last for about four or five days.
this recipe calls for a flax egg and gluten-free flour. substituting a regular egg and regular flour is not recommended.although I have not tested either item, I suspect that the protein in the egg and the gluten in the flour would yield significantly different results.
- 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup apple cider molasses (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 flax egg*
- pinch of cinnamon
- a drip of vanilla
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup of scant, well sifted gluten-free flour (like bob's cup to cup)
- chunky sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 and line and 8x8 glass pan with parchment paper
- Beat together the melted coconut oil and the apple cider molasses.
- Add the brown sugar, flax egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
- Carefully stir in the flour and add the baking powder at the very end.
- Scrape the batter into your prepared pan and bake for 22-23 minutes.
- Sprinkle with pepitas and brown sugar if desired, and allow to cool completely before cutting.
* tbsp water + 1 tbsp flax meal
to make apple cider molasses
ingredients: 1/2 gallon of pure apple cider
Pour 1 1/4 cups of apple cider into a saucepan make make a note of where the liquid reaches. (dip a skewer into the cider so that it hits the bottom of the pan. then make a mark on the skewer of where the cider reaches) Pour the remaining apple cider into the pan, cover, and set over medium heat. Once boiling, remove cover and lower heat slightly. Continue to simmer for 1 1/2 -2 1/2 hours, until you have about 1 to 1/4 cups of cider left (use your skewer to measure) It will still appear to be liquid. Cool overnight. It will be think and gooey and marvelous. Recipe from Heather Plus Mike.