I love caramel sauce and candy but I’m a bit intimidated by any recipe that requires me to use my candy thermometer. A strong craving for this combination of flavors sent me to the kitchen despite my fears and I am very pleased with the results. The pistachios are optional; I don’t think they add much more than a little crunch and color but some of my taste-testers disagree and urged me to leave the option in. A small drizzle of chocolate is also tasty and looks nice but is optional too. Inspired by Emily Luchetti’s Orange-Cardamom Ice Cream (A Passion for Ice Cream, Chronicle Books, 2006) and technique borrowed heavily from David Lebovitz Salted Butter Caramels (http://www.davidlebovitz...). Avoid Ultra-Pasteurized whipping cream and use cultured butter if possible. —Angela @ the well-worn apron
flaky sea salt, divided (I use Maldon)
green cardamom pods, crushed
Zest of 1 medium orange
light corn syrup
salted butter,cubed,at room temperature, divided (cultured if available)
Line a 9-inch loaf pan with foil. For best results, use Reynolds Rapid Release and coat with cooking spray or butter.
Combine cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, vanilla, ½ rounded teaspoon sea salt, cardamom and orange zest in a small saucepan heat to just before boiling – small bubbles will be forming around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 20 minutes before continuing. Don’t let the cardamom cream cool too much.
Attach your candy thermometer to the side of a heavy bottomed 4-quart saucepan so that the bulb will be submerged. Heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat; stir carefully until the sugar melts. Once the sugar has melted only stir to avoid hot spots. Cook to 310ºF (155ºC). You may need to tilt the pan to submerge the bulb and get an accurate reading.
Remove from heat. Stir in strained, warm cardamom cream until combined, no longer bubbling, and smooth.at and stir in strained, warm cardamom cream, until smooth.
Return to heat and cook to 260F (127C).
Remove pan from heat, take out thermometer, and stir remaining butter, until it’s melted and caramel is smooth.
Pour caramel into the loaf pan and let sit for ten minutes, then sprinkle with rounded 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and pistachios, if using. Set on a rack and completely cooled. You can check this by touching the sides and bottom of the pan. When cool, lift foil and caramel from, carefully remove foil*, and slice caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.
* For chocolate option: melt chocolate in the microwave and using a fork drizzle over the caramel. Place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before cutting to allow the chocolate to set.
Wrap caramels individually in waxed paper otherwise they get sticky. David Lebovitz says they’ll keep for about a month but I’ll never know cuz they disappear very quickly around here.