Lately I rediscovered the joy of homemade candies. The therapeutic quality of bread baking convinced me that I will also find peace in cooking caramel in my concussed state of mind. I only wish. As I found out, hovering my hands inches above a molten pot of lava is anything but calming. My heartbeat galloped away with the rising mercury of my candy thermometer. That’s right, cooking caramel is not the best activity for concussion recovery.
Eating homemade caramel, on the other hand, induces joy and satisfaction that few things can compare. So I guess it all evens out. Every piece of these vegan coconut lime soft caramel mellows from chewy to melty with a lingering richness of creamy coconut and lilting lime. If my head is completely right, I would probably go on longer about how much I love my stash of caramels. But since I much rather let my mind wander in this land of healing, here is the recipe without further ado.
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s Master Caramel Direction in Short & Sweet —DessertByCandy
8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch slab
gram granulated sugar
gram coconut palm sugar granules
melted coconut oil
fine sea salt
coconut cream skimmed from cans of coconut milk (my choice is Mae Ploy due to its generous amount of cream)
Have all ingredients scaled and within easy reach.
Line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch straight-sided metal loaf pan completely with parchment paper. You can make diagonal cuts from all four corners for a snug fit.
Empty granulated sugar and cold water to medium heavy bottom sauce pan (about 2L in size). Cook at medium heat undisturbed until it turns into syrup.
Turn heat to high and continue to cook undisturbed. Watch very closely until the edges start to turn golden. Swirl the syrup around to evenly cook until it is a uniform golden colour. I prefer a lighter caramel for this recipe to highlight the taste of coconut and lime.
Remove pan from heat and set on trivet. Stir in coconut palm sugar, salt, coconut oil, and coconut cream. It may sputter and sizzle but don’t be alarm.
Set pan over high heat and mount candy thermometer without the probe touching bottom of the pan. Mine doesn’t clip on so I simply hold it with my left hand. Stir regularly to ensure even cooking. During this time, the caramel would bubble furiously. Stop when it reaches temperature between 258F to 260F. It may take 10 to 20 minutes depending on the heat.
Working quickly, set pan on trivet and stir in lime zest. Pour into prepared loaf pan and let it cool completely at room temperature, about 5 hours.
Once the caramel is set, you can lift it out of the loaf pan along with the parchment paper and set on a cutting board. Lightly coat the blade of your knife with oil and cut caramel into bite size pieces. It would be very sticky but ought to hold its shape at room temperature. If you are picky like me, do not touch the candies with bare hands because you would leave fingerprints all over. Have scrap pieces of parchment paper to help you wrestle the candies from your utensils.
Wrap individual candies with parchment paper and store at room temperature. The candies will keep for 2 weeks.