Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chocolate-Covered Espresso Salted Nutmeg Caramels

I'm going to try doing these soon. Or these.

1 cup golden syrup
(or 3/4 cup golden syrup and 1/4 cup agave syrup, more agave and they will not form properly)
2 cups sugar in the raw
1 teaspoon espresso sea salt
(or 3/4 teaspoon sea salt + 1 teaspoon espresso extract added with the vanilla)
2 cups soy creamer
3/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons room temperature Earth Balance buttery stick or other margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound bittersweet dark chocolate, tempered

Line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. Combine the syrup or syrups, raw sugar, and espresso salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stirring until mixture simmers at the edges. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. (As mixture cooks, wash spoon so it will be clear of sugar crystals when used later.)

Uncover saucepan and wash down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove the sugar cyrstals on the sides of the pan. Insert a candy thermometer and allow the mixture to cook, uncovered and without stirring to 305°F.

As the sugar cooks, gently heat the soy creamer with the fresh grated nutmeg until just before boiling. Maintain the heat at a simmer and keep covered to allow the nutmeg to infuse.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, remove heat and stir in the Earth Balance. When well incorporated, slowly and carefully pour the nutmeg infused cream into the sugar mixture while stirring. When the mixture ceases to bubble dramatically, stir well to mix the thickened sugar resting at the bottom of the pan back into the mixture.

Return the pan to heat and allow it to cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, (this step may take as long at 10-20 minutes) to 260°f. At 260°f, remove the heat and stir in vanilla and espresso (if using) extracts. Pour the mixture into the lined pan and allow it to set at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight.

When set, remove the caramel from the pan and use an oiled knife to cut into squares. Dip the squares in tempered chocolate and decorate with transfer paper or a sprinkling of nutmeg. Or, for rolled truffles, add caramel to chopped chocolate in a 1:3 ratio and place over a double boiler, gently heating until liquid and smooth before whisking with hot liquid and proceeding to make ganache as per usual. Or, wrap the cut caramel squares in parchment paper and eat as is.


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