I’ve seen this concoction called many different things on the interwebz: “Apple Molasses“, “Apple Cider Molasses“, “Boiled Apple Cider“, “Apple Cider Syrup” and even “Cider Jelly“. I’ve found the last name to be particularly problematic because the taste and appearance of the final result is very different from the Apple Cider Jelly I’ve made in the past (and plan to make again soon!).
I’m going to call it Apple Cider Syrup. I think it’s the most accurate name for the final product I ended up with, having a color and consistency very similar to Maple Syrup. If you boil the cider longer than I did, you may end up with a product much closer to molasses, so you will probably want to call it that instead.
Apple Cider Syrup
- Apple Cider 
Put apple cider into a large stock pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling , stirring occasionally and skimming foam off the top if necessary, until the cider has been reduced to a thick syrup. Expect to reduce the cider to an eighth or a tenth of its original volume, at least. Depending on the desired consistency, you probably want the cider to coat the back of a clean, cool spoon before you’re done.
Allow the syrup to cool, put into suitable containers and store in the fridge (indefinitely). You can also ladle it into prepared jars (quarter- and half-pint work fine, if you have that much) and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. If your cider is very sweet and not at all tart, you may want to add some lemon juice to the mixture as it’s boiling down, to ensure shelf stability  .
Wow. Talk about flavor explosion. All the sugar but also all the acidic tartness are reduced into a small amount of extremely flavorful syrup. I stopped the boiling when the cider reached a consistency similar to maple syrup or honey, but some people on the internet take it all the way down to the level of thick molasses. I also suspect that, like maple syrup, we could dehydrate the result into crystals of apple cider sugar, but I haven’t attempted that just yet. The cider that we used was fresh and very sweet, but the resulting syrup was surprisingly bold and tart.
On french toast, with some fried apples, this syrup was fantastic. We mixed it with a little bit of maple syrup as well, and some melted butter, and it was total heaven.
I stopped boiling as soon as the syrup coated the back of a spoon. Any earlier and I would have had something more like “Cider Concentrate”, which would also be worthwhile to make and preserve, just not what I wanted today.
Keep in mind that when it’s hot on the stove the consistency will be much thinner than when it cools down or is refrigerated. The spoon test or other tests for thickness will be required to figure out how thick the final product will be.
Other Possible Uses
As a syrup on french toast, this is an obvious choice. But where else could this be used?
I had originally thought it might be good as a substitute for white sugar when baking, but the robust tart flavor makes me think twice about using it without careful forethought. Mixing some in with oatmeal might be nice, as would mixing it in with some kind of warm beverage. I might try it with some tea. An “Apple chai latte” sounds particularly good to me right now, and will give me a tasty seasonal alternative when my wife is drinking one of her pumpkin-themed fu-fu coffee drinks.
A small amount of this syrup would add big apple flavor to a mixed drink or cocktail.
We don’t do baked beans often, but I imagine it would form a great base for a ham or chicken glaze, it might go good on brandied carrots, or with some good aged Gouda on a cheese plate.
- You’re going to want a really good quality cider to start with. We’re concentrating it, so anything that is bad about the cider will be concentrated to be more bad. I recommend you pick something fresh, sweet, not too tart and not at all bitter.
- Once the mixture reaches a boil, you can adjust the temperature down so it doesn’t bubble up and get out of control. I found medium-low to work well for much of the reduction, though sometimes the boiling stopped and I had to turn it up a bit. The only part that really matters is towards the end when the syrup is thick and prone to burning. At the final stages you shouldn’t have it much hotter than medium-low to prevent burning.
- In reality, the acid from the apples already (especially if your cider is at all tart), combined with the high sugar and low moisture should be enough to suppress most pathogens. A little lemon juice and a boiling water bath are just a belt-and-suspenders way to stay safe. Refrigeration should also be sufficient to keep it safe indefinitely, so long as you don’t add moisture.