Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 23: Coconut Cream Caramels

The other day I was making a lovely curry cauliflower soup and had a half can of coconut milk leftover. Hating to waste anything, I gave it some thought and came up with the idea to make coconut caramels. Everyone loves my bacon caramels, so using that as a base recipe, I made a batch. Supplementing the leftover half cup of coconut milk with a half cup of cream, I found the taste a bit too subtle. Barely noticeable. So I decided to give it a second try this week and kick it up a notch.

Instead of the coconut milk and cream mixture, I used a full cup of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream. I also toasted up some shredded coconut to enhance the coconut flavor and give it a bit of texture. The result was a nicely sweet caramel with the toasty crunch of the coconut.

Coconut Cream Caramels
1 cup coconut cream
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup toasted flaked or shredded coconut

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly oil parchment with vegetable oil or cooking spray.

Bring coconut cream, butter, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.

Boil sugar, golden syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.

Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 250 degrees on candy thermometer, which takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with toasted coconut and gently press down into caramel. Cool for 3 hours. (Placing them in the refrigerator during the last 30 minutes will make them easier to cut.)

Cut sheets of wax paper into 4-inch squares.

Pull parchment and caramel out of the pan and cut into small squares or rectangles and wrap each in square of wax paper, twisting both ends to close. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yield: approximately 40 caramels

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