I was never really a salted caramel fan myself--being a caramel purist and all--but everyone around me seems to love it, making this the ideal project: making something sweet to gift friends without any of the calories for myself.
Salty and sweet, yet crunchy and melting, there's a whole lot of awesomeness in one of these little caramels. I have the extra calories to prove it. The recipe says to 'boil until it reaches 244 degrees, the soft ball point on a candy thermometer, but I brought it to the soft ball point on my thermometer, which is 240 degrees. I'm not sure if that had an effect on the hardness of the candy, but my caramels turned out really soft. But if you put them in the fridge for a few minutes, they come out perfect. I'll bring it to 244 degrees next time.
I have to thank my aunt and cousins for helping me wrap these caramels. I love family time. Can we have family time soon? Maybe on the day I try Smitten Kitchen's recipe for apple cider caramels.
Salted Pumpkin Caramels Recipe adapted from The Baker Chick
Ingredients 2/3 cup unsalted pepitas 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 Maldon
Dry toast the pepitos in a skillet until they start to pop. Line an 8-in square baking pan with parchment and butter the parchment. Evenly spread out the toasted pepitos on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment. Sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt.
In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Warm the mixture, but not to the point of boiling.
In a second medium-sized 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 as registered on a on a candy thermometer. This will take a while -- about 30-60 minutes -- don't leave the kitchen, keep an eye on it, and stir occasionally. When it hits 230 degrees start stirring frequently to keep it from burning.
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 10-15 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a greased knife to cut them into 1-inch squares and wrapping them individually in waxed paper.
Once you open a (29oz.) can of pumpkin, you have to let it fall where it may. I've been on a pumpkin rampage. I apologized to my friends for not saving them any of these scrumptious pumpkin muffins, but I told them not to worry because I found a delicious looking pumpkin carrot cupcake recipe I want to try. But judging by their lack of excitement, I think they're all pumpkined out for now.
How can anyone be tired of pumpkin already? We're right in the middle of fall and still have two weeks til Thanksgiving. There's still a lot of pumpkin to go around. These pumpkin muffins are incredibly moist and full of that autumn flavor, and the cream cheese filling is an added bonus.
Pumpkin Muffin with Cream Cheese Filling Recipe from See Brooke Cook
Filling: 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used light) 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Muffins: 3 cups white-wheat/all-purpose flour 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp ground cloves 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 1 tsp salt 1 tsp baking soda 4 large eggs 2 cups sugar 2 cups pumpkin puree 1¼ cups vegetable oil
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Refrigerate the mixture while you make the muffins to allow it to cool and thicken slightly.
For the muffins, preheat your oven to 350˚ F and line or spray your muffin pans. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda then whisk to blend. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium-low speed combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil until blended. Turn the mixer to low and add in the dry ingredients, mix just until incorporated.
Fill each muffin pan with just enough batter to cover the bottom of each well (about 1-2 tablespoons). Scoop a small amount of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well, then top each with the remaining batter, covering the cream cheese completely. Bake for 20-25 minutes (30-35 for large muffins). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
What autumn flavors should I try next?
Don't you love the smell of Autumn? The blend of apples, cinnamon, and pumpkins always makes me feel warm inside (or is that just the California weather?) What better way to fill the house with Halloween spirit than to carve pumpkins while the aroma of pumpkin bread fills the kitchen.
Pumpkin Spice Bread Recipe from Cannella Vita
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 4 eggs 1 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup water 3 cups white sugar 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking soda 1 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1/4 tsp ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If you prefer crispy edges like my friends do, I suggest you leave it in for 5-10 minutes longer.
Halloween officially kicks off the holiday season. After the pumpkins, bring on the peppermint.