Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pumpkin Caramels

Tis the season for all things sweet and giftable, at least around here! Of course, because I make all my gifts each year (teachers don't earn that much, and first year teachers even less!) I have to include some fun, delicious and yes, even slightly nutritious candy with each offering to offset the 7 or 8 boxes of chocolates that waft their way into the house from various guests.

Pumpkin Caramels

Since I had a goodly amount of pumpkin puree from the ones we picked back in October, I started scouting around for interesting uses for it. Eventually, I landed at Fifteen Spatulas, and knew I had (one) of my answers - chewy, spicy and lightly salted pumpkin caramels! I made two batches - one with the rich cream and butter that packs our fridge during the holiday season, and another, vegan option because a handful of my friends are either allergic to milk or vegan. Both were fantastic, and definitely a hit - I had to box them up and hide them before they disappeared when my family found them!

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Pumpkin Caramels
Makes one 9x5" pan, about 32 pieces
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp golden or light corn syrup
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream
6 tbsp (a generous ⅓ cup) canned pumpkin puree
2 tbsp Earth Balance stick margarine or unsalted butter
¼ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp vanilla extract
good quality sea salt, for sprinkling
  1. Line a 9x5” pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a saucepan and swirl the pan to wet the sugar. Cook, without stirring, over medium heat until the mixture turns to a rich amber - about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, Earth Balance, salt and spice, stirring until smooth.
  4. Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and slowly pour in the pumpkin mixture. The caramel will spit and bubble, so stand back!
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until it reaches 248F on a candy thermometer.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and pour into the pan.
  7. Let stand 2 minutes, then sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
  8. Let stand 6 hours at room temperature, then cut into squares.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 29.3
Total Fat: 0.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 25.4 mg
Total Carbs: 5.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.1 g