I know that at this point after the holidays the last thing anyone really needs is another sweet, but these caramels were quite popular at Christmas and I’ve had several requests for the recipe. And surely in the next month or two there will be a cold, windy day when you’ll really have nothing better to do than to spend a few hours watching a movie and wrapping caramels in little squares of paper.
I saw this recipe, which calls for an elusive ingredient, ginger extract. I didn’t expect to find it, so I thought I would make a strong ginger tea with lots of fresh ginger and try using that in place of the water. But then when I went looking for corn syrup in Whole Foods I found a bottle of ginger syrup! I decided to replace the corn syrup and some of the sugar with the syrup. The caramels ended up with a very mild ginger flavor. Next time I might replace more of the sugar with ginger syrup. You could probably make them with all syrup if you want them to be really spicy.
Ginger caramels adapted from The Kitchn
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 (8 oz.) bottle ginger syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Line a 9-inch square pan with two crisscrossing pieces of parchment paper (not waxed paper). You’ll want an overhang on the sides so that you have something to grab on to. If you find that the parchment paper just wants to roll back up, a few drops of vegetable oil spread in the pan and between the two sheets of parchment will help it stay flat.
In a small saucepan over low heat, bring the cream just to a simmer. Meanwhile in a large, heavy pot, combine the sugar, water and syrup. Over medium heat, stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Make sure there are no sugar crystals sticking to the sides of the pot. if there are, dip a pastry brush in water and brush own the sides of the pot until the crystals are all dissolved. Now turn the heat up to high and cook without stirring until the syrup is a dark amber color. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter. Then slowly whisk in the cream. It will bubble up like crazy so be careful. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and cook until the caramel reaches 250 degrees.
Quickly stir in the salt and the cinnamon and then pour into the prepared pan. Refrigerate for several hours, until very firm. When you’re ready cut the caramels, turn the caramel out of the pan onto a cutting board. Peel off the parchment paper and cut into squares, about 3/4 of an inch. A pizza cutter works best. Now you’ll need to cut squares of parchment paper to wrap them in. Before you go cutting a hundred squares of paper, try wrapping one first to make sure the paper is the right size. The caramels will be a little on the soft side at room temperature, so they will be easier to wrap if you keep them in the refrigerator and just take out about a quarter of the batch at a time to wrap. Makes about a hundred caramels.