Who doesn't love caramel apples? This jam would make a wonderful gift. Five cups of applesauce can be substituted for the cooked and sieved apples in this recipe. This recipe is from Linda Ziedrich's The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves.
- In a large pan cook the apples over low heat, covered, until they are soft, about 20 minutes. You may need to add some water or apple cider to keep them from scorching.
- Puree the apples by putting them through the medium screen of a food mill or pressing them through a sieve.
- In a large pan, combine 2 cups of the sugar, the water and the lemon juice. Without stirring or shaking the pan, bring the syrup to a boil and gently boil it until the water has evaporated the the syrup has turned golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat immediately, before the caramel darkens more than you'd like.
- Add the apple puree to the caramel, which will harden at first and then begin to dissolve. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and stir over low heat until the sugar and caramel have completely dissolved. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the jam to a boil. Continue boiling, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes until the jam is thick enough that your spoon briefly leaves a clear track at the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the brandy, if you are using it, and the vanilla extract. Ladle the jam into pint or half-pint jars and process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.