While searching for recipes for spiced apple doughnuts, I kept coming across an ingredient called boiled cider. I had no idea what that was so I did a little research. Essentially, boiled cider is exactly that – apple cider which has been boiled down until it has reduced to about 1/7th of it’s original volume, a nice thick, syrupy consistency and a super concentrated apple flavor. Some call it apple molasses, as it can be substituted for molasses in many recipes. It can also be used alone, say, as an ice cream topping.
The doughnut recipes that didn’t contain boiled cider just didn’t seem like there would be enough apple flavor by just using applesauce and plain cider, so I decided I should really give the boiled cider a try. Cue Price is Right loser music… Apparently, boiled cider is widely popular in the NE United States, but not as common elsewhere. None of my local stores carry it, and I really didn’t want to wait to make these doughnuts until I purchased online. Then I had an ah-ha moment – make my own! After all, I had 3/4 of a gallon of fresh, local cider left in my fridge, just waiting to be used up.
Bring the apple cider to a boil in a large heavy pot. I used a half gallon of cider because I didn’t have a full gallon on hand, but I recommend you boil a full gallon as I know you will find uses for this deliciousness. Reduce heat to medium low, and boil for 3-4 hours until the cider is a syrupy consistency about 1/7th the volume of the original. For a gallon, that is about 2 1/4 cups, for a half gallon you’ll get a little over a cup.
You don’t have to watch this stuff cook, or even be in the same room. Just make sure you check it every so often to see how it’s doing, especially towards the end. To check my progress, I used a plastic ruler to “gauge” the level of the cider to start, and then took it off the heat when it got to about 1/7th of that measurement. At that point it was a deep caramel color, and a little thicker that pancake syrup, but thinner than caramel sauce. If there’s a temperature it is supposed to be at on a candy thermometer, I have no idea what it is, sorry! I wouldn’t worry, though, I wouldn’t consider boiling cider in the same realm of candy making. See below for the progression of color and bubbling as my cider boiled.
Guys, this stuff is seriously amazing… Alone, it tastes like liquid Jolly Ranchers, but with a less tangy and more rich flavor. I couldn’t stop licking the spatula and couldn’t wait to use it in my Maple-Glazed Apple Cider Doughnuts!