Hundreds of years ago, cider molasses used to be a common substitute for the costly, imported cane molasses. It is deeply caramelized and thick, and it keeps practically forever. Substitute cider molasses in any recipe calling for molasses especially in sweet baked goods and you will be quite pleased with the results.
- Yield: 3 pint
- 1 gallon sweet cider
- A few drops of vegetable oil (like sunflower) or a smidge of butter (for defoaming; optional)
- Pour the cider into a wide pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When the cider starts to boil and “breaks” (separates into a clear liquid with floating brown solids), remove the brown solids with a screen-type skimmer or strain the cider through a tight cloth, such as muslin. You can skip this step, but the syrup will be murky, though still delicious.
- Return the clarified cider to the pan and continue cooking. When the temperature gets above 220°F (104°C), don’t leave the pot! Keep stirring and taking temperature readings. The end game can be quick as a wink, and if you proceed too far, the molasses becomes like tar! Cook until the syrup is between 228°F and 235°F (109–113°C), depending on how thick and deeply caramelized you want your molasses to be. Some foaming is inevitable but harmless. You can add a few drops of oil or butter to dissolve the foam or skim it off the surface, but it isn’t necessary. The foam will eventually settle back down into the molasses.
- Pour the syrup into a clean, sterile, widemouthed jar and cap while piping hot. It can be stored unrefrigerated for many months.