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.