Thursday 15 November 2018

Autumnal Caramels

I am a big lover of a baking blog though I rarely make things from them. Sometimes a recipe pops up that I'm keen for though, and this is what happened last week when I came across Bourbon Maple Pumpkin Seed Caramels on the Sprinklebakes blog. They were duly made at the weekend and have kept us going on a sugar rush all week.

I adjusted the recipe a little from the original; I subbed in golden syrup for corn syrup because, yknow, Britain; I roasted and salted my own pumpkin seeds (worked fine); and when it came to the bourbon, I added some kind of blend of Jim Beam and apple sours that Asda had available. I'm not a whiskey drinker and trawled through pages of whiskeys in the Asda online store; they were mostly scotches which Mr Z tells me is categorically not the same. The few available bourbons were expensive for something I expected to bung in a caramel and never drink. This was the very last available item on the scroll, but it has done its job well. There's a slight alcoholic kick and a slight taste of apple which is just perfect with the rest of the flavours. Although Heather is a dyed-in-the-wool southerner and might well be horrified at the idea of adulterating good bourbon with some fru-fru liqueur knocked back by barely legal drinkers on the sesh, I like to think she would enjoy the apple flavour.

225g unsalted butter
400g caster sugar
225g light brown sugar (I had to add in a bit of dark to make the weight up)
240ml golden syrup
170g can evaporated milk
400ml double cream
120ml pure maple syrup
120ml apple bourbon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
300g pumpkin seeds

Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt (you'll know how salty you like it. I'm quite salty myself so I added a big pinch). Roast at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes - keep a close ear on them, they will be popping and ticking when they're hot. They keep on popping and ticking for a while after they come out, too. Cute.

Put everything except the booze, salt and seeds into a saucepan. Heat gently with lots of stirring until it all dissolves together in one big sinful, diabetes-inducing mass. Put in a sugar thermometer at this point, when it's still coolish.

Bring to the boil and boil until the thermometer gets to 120 degrees C. It took about 25 minutes. It doesn't need stirring as long as your temperature isn't too high. The caramel will probably have reduced by about a quarter and be much darker. I heated mine until it hit temp but really I should have kept it at that temp for a few minutes, I think - mine hold their shape in the wrappers but they're very sticky unless they're straight out of the fridge.

Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and the whiskey. Be prepared for a lot of heavy bubbling.

Pour into a lined rectangular tray and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over straight away. Refrigerate when cool enough. When you're satisfied with the set, turn them out and cut into pieces, wrapping each one in greaseproof.

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