Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pumpkin Caramels!

Happy First Day of Autumn!

“купаться в золоте” by Lesya Pchelka

I don't think there is anything about autumn that I don't love. I mean, fall has the best weather, the best clothes, the prettiest foliage, not to mention Halloween. It is without a doubt my favorite time of year. It's also when I'm most inspired to cook. I can't go to the grocery store without gasping at all the pumpkins, squashes, and apples.



Now there's some autumn recipes that I have to make every year. Top on the list is my Cinnamon-Sugar Pastries with Pumpkin Dip. Eric absolutely loves it. I'll probably make it at least twice before Thanksgiving just for him. And we always carve pumpkins which mean Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Then I have to make my Baked Potato Soup. It just screams out fall. Since apple cider will (finally) be in season, I must remake my Apple Cider Cake that I baked in February for Eric's birthday; this time with real apple cider instead of the powdered mix. But I also have a list the length of my arm (only a slight exaggeration) of new recipes to test out this autumn season. And chances are it's only going to continue to grow. I'm sure I won't get to them all, but I'll try my damnedest, beginning with . . . Pumpkin Caramels!

I made sea salt caramels last Christmas and they were amazing. I gave them as gifts and had to hide them from Eric or else he would have eaten them all. Everyone loved them. I had never even heard of pumpkin caramels until Pinterest. I tracked down a recipe that appealed to me, made a few changes, and here it is. Who knew homemade caramels could get any better?

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Line an 8x8-inch glass baking pan with wax paper and grease it with butter. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, heat the heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice over medium-high heat. Stir and combine well. You want to get the mixture hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large heavy-bottomed pan with sides that are at least 4 inches high (I used a stock pot), combine the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, and water. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, continue to cook the mixture until it reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer. Occasionally swirl the saucepan but refrain from stirring the mixture.

When the temperature reaches 248 degrees, slowly and carefully stir in the cream-pumpkin mixture. The mixture will bubble so be careful not to burn yourself. When the caramel reaches 230 degrees, stir continuously. When the temperature hits 244, remove from heat, and stir in butter chunks and lemon juice. Continue to stir until the butter is completely incorporated into the caramel.

Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Allow the caramel to cool and set for at least 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch squares and wrap the pieces in wax paper.

I cannot even begin to describe how amazing these caramels are. I may have to make a second batch for Thanksgiving.



Also Check These Fall Recipes:  
Acorn Donuts
Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting
Cheese Tortellini in a Pumpkin Sauce
Cinnamon-Sugar Pastry with Pumpkin Dip
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Pumpkin Bread!
Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls
Pumpkin Penn Casserole
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

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