This is the last of my homemade Christmas gifts. I made these for Mark who loves coconut and I liked the idea of the spicing.
It is an Annie Rigg recipe, from her amazing book Sweet Thing adapted ever so slightly considering what I had in the cupboard.
Coconut spiced caramels
vegetable oil for greasing
400ml (can) full fat coconut milk
6 cardamom pods
1 large cinnamon stick
50g dark brown sugar
100g light brown sugar
75g golen syrup
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt
225g caster sugar
2 tablespoons dessicated coconut
Grease the base and sides of a 17cm square baking tin and line with baking parchment.
Put the coconut milk into a saucepan and add the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick. Set over a low heat for 4-5 minutes to infuse the milk with the spices. Add the brown sugars, golden syrup, butter, vanilla and salt. Once the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved remove from the heat.
Put the caster sugar into a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of water. Set over a low heat to dissolve the sugar. Do not stir. If sugar crystals form on the sides dissolve them with a pastry brush dipped in hot water. Bring the syrup to the boil and cook steadily until it becomes a pale coloured caramel, swirl the pan occasionally to make sure it caramelises evenly.
Working quickly bring the coconut mixture back up to just under the boil. Continue to cook the caramel till it becomes maple syrup coloured. Take the pan from the heat and slowly strain the coconut milk mixture into it. Be careful, the mixture may hiss and splutter.
Return the pan to the heat and stir till smooth, and to dissolve any caramel that has hardened. Pop a sugar thermometer into the pan and bring to the boil. Stir frequently and continue to cook until the caramel reaches 118C. I used my thermospatula so the pan was not over crowded.
Remove the pan from the heat, whisk the caramel util smooth then pour into the prepared tin.
Lightly toast the coconut in a non stick frying pan over a low heat util golden. Scatter over the caramel and leave to set for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Tip out of the pan onto a chopping board and cut with a greased kitchen knife. Wrap each caramel in a piece of parchment paper, twisting the ends.
Best eaten within a week, though will keep for a couple.
Annie adds ginger and star anise to the coconut milk along with the cardamom and cinnamon. I a) had neither of these, and b) one of my recipients is not so keen on ginger.
I do not think it mattered too much, the flavour of the spice comes through and makes a very different but delicious caramel.
I got the 'Sweet Thing' cookbook for Christmas and I cannot wait to get properly stuck in and making some treats!