Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Coconut Caramels

Some may say I'm a glutton for punishment with these candies - after all, it's hot and humid as heck outside, I'm allergic to coconut and here I am turning on the stove and boiling sugar to make candy packed with coconut! 

That said, it was one of those things that I had been dying to try out for ages - could I make caramels without dairy or solid fat of any kind that could be cut and wrapped like the storebought chewy ones? Obviously someone has marketed the idea of coconut milk caramels already, but then I saw the recipe for this (originally Nigerian) sweet on Saveur and it got me thinking...how could I make them even more coconutty? Ironically, the first thing I did was get rid of the coconut oil in the recipe, since it was only used to grease the pan and I simply lined it with parchment. Then, I broke out all the coconutty items I had on hand - shredded coconut for the bottom of the pan, coconut sugar and (obviously) the premium coconut milk - and set to work. Partway along I got inspired to add a hit of ginger for more tropical ambience and spice to offset the richness and sweetness of the candy.

Once they were cooled, I carefully began to cut them (I'm not kidding - I was wearing gloves to not pouf up) and they were everything I hoped for (according to my taste testers) - chewy, just slightly sticky caramels... 100% dairy free, lots of texture and flavour and the right amount of spice!  

Shared with Allergy-Free Wednesdays
 
Coconut Caramels


Coconut Caramels
Adapted from Saveur
Makes one 8" pan, 64 (1") squares
1/4 cup shredded coconut
14 oz can full fat, premium coconut milk
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar (or sucanat)
1/4 cup water
  1. Line an 8" pan with parchment and sprinkle with the coconut. Set aside.
  2. In a small pot warm the coconut milk, corn syrup, salt and ginger until steaming, stirring until smooth. Keep warm.
  3. In a large pot, cook the sugar with the water, without stirring, until it registers 230F on a candy thermometer.
  4. Stir in the hot coconut milk mixture and continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 260F.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately pour into the lined pan.
  6. Let set 8 hours before cutting and wrapping (depending on the heat/humidity, you may find it easiest to chill these first).
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 36.7
Total Fat: 1.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 41.1 mg
Total Carbs: 7.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 0.1 g