Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salted Pumpkin Caramels- Our New Thanksgiving Delight

Every now and then, a holiday screams for a little something new to tease your tate buds. Something straying from the norm pie choices and family favorites. For our Thanksgiving day, these homemade salted pumpkin caramels were just the ticket. Same ol' fall flavors remixed into creamy, bite-sized melt in your mouth caramels.

I think I will make these for every Thanksgiving feast.

I have made caramels mutiple times. This was the easiest recipe as of yet. Follow the instructions and there is no messing this up. I can say this confidently because if there was a way to mess these up, I would have done it!

Salted Pumpkin Caramels
Source: Food 52
Makes 64, 1-inch caramels

2/3 cup unsalted pepitos (pumpkin seeds) (I didn't use these)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/3 cup good maple syrup
1/4 cup of water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel (sea salt)

Dry toast the pepitos in a skillet until they start to pop. (I skipped this part) Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square glass pan with parchment. Butter the parchment on the sides of the pan. I didn't have parchment, I used wax paper and it worked just fine. Evenly spread out the toasted pepitos on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.

In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices. Get this mixture quite warm, but not boiling. Set aside. In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted, Then let it boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the soft ball point on a candy thermometer). Then very carefully add the cream and pumpkin mixture, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees on a on a candy thermometer. This can take awhile -- like 30 minutes -- but don't leave the kitchen, watch it carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 230 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan. As soon as it reaches the 240, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a hot knife to cut them into 1-inch squares and wrapping them individually in waxed paper.

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