Salted Pumpkin Caramels, Take 3
adapted from Take 2
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1/2 c raw, unsalted pepitas
2 c white sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/3 c maple syrup
1/4 c water
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2/3 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 tbsp unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt
Butter one side of a sheet of parchment. Line the bottom and the sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with the parchment paper, buttered side up.
Toast the pepitas in a large skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until they begin to pop.
Evenly spread out the pumpkin seeds on the bottom of the pan.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups, and water. Stir over medium heat until the sugars are melted.
This was about 6 minutes.
Allow the mixture to boil until it reaches 246°F, stirring occasionally.
218°F, 238°F, and 246°F - happened over 4 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a smaller saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and spice. Warm the cream mixture over medium heat until heated through but not boiling. Set aside.
Once it's sufficiently warmed, the cinnamon will be incorporated until homogeneous. This was about 3 minutes.
Very carefully, slowly add the cream mixture.
Stir the mixture occasionally until it reaches 230°F and then continuously until it reaches 242°F.
The mixture will gradually thicken and darken until the final temperature is reached; it took mine a total of 23 minutes to go from 218°F to 242°F.
Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir vigorously so that the butter is fully incorporated.
It takes 4 minutes of stirring like your life depends on it for the butter and lemon juice to finally go into the caramel mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
Let cool 30 minutes, then sprinkle the salt on top.
Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before cutting them into 1-inch squares with a hot knife.
Yep, you're much better off stirring the sugars and water until the granules are dissolved. It expedites the whole process. While I'm not completely sure, I can't help but think that this variable had a lot to do with whether or not the caramels are grainy or not. These, and the first batch, were not grainy while Take 2, where I didn't use the water, were.
This time I let the mixture get up to 246°F before I carefully added the cream mixture and let that cook until it reached 242°F, each step two degrees hotter than the original recipe specified. It looks like this helped the caramels remain absolutely creamy while holding their cut shape a lot better. I think this batch turned out perfectly!
- raw, unsalted pepitas: $0.87
- white sugar: $0.39
- light corn syrup: $0.72
- maple syrup: $1.32
- heavy cream: $1.46
- unsalted butter: $0.23
- lemon: $0.27
- sea salt: $0.21
TOTAL: $5.47 or about $0.06 for each of 81 caramels.