You guys, we need to talk about Procrastmas but first I just want to say that the alternative title for this post was Turtle Time because Ramona is my spirit animal but it’s close to Christmas and I want to help you guys out with da gift giving. We need to focus on Procrastmas.
It’s now less than a week until Christmas hits and if you’re anything like me (super fabulous) then you’ve probably done approximately zero presents shopping. It’s a combo of me always procrastinating and me working in a mall and having shopping at the bottom of my have-to list.
We’re calling it Procrastmas.
I’m helping you/me out this year by giving a project for this weekend that involves hot sugar, butter, pretzels, all the love, maybe a bottle of wine, and some ribbon. Procrastmas shopping is OVER. An afternoon of some quality caramel time means a lot of edible presents that nobody will turn away unless they’re vegan/gluten free/allergic to nuts. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The caramels are just the ever so popular fleur de sel caramels from Ina with a fist bump of instant espresso powder that I always have in the cupboard to boost the shit out of desserts. Caramels are a little daunting but don’t let the caramel smell the fear, get a good candy thermometer, and everything will go smoothly.
Truth be told, these turtles actually happened because I hate wrapping caramels. I needed a vessel that didn’t require precision and baby squares of parchment paper. Enter pretzels and chocolate and cue the love making music.
If you aren’t feeling the turtles then go ahead and just give some really good salted caramels! parchment paper is a good wrapper material, you just need to cut it down. Also I wouldn’t kick you out of bed for making some salted caramel cups. Maybe we can tackle those on Monday?
Salted Espresso Caramels
slightly adapted from these
obvs she has a good step by step
this makes approx 80-100 (NOT A TYPO) depending on the size you cut them
1/4 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 c heavy cream
4 t instant espresso powder
5 T unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t vanilla extract
flaky Maldon for sprinkling on top
equipment needed: candy thermometer (you better use your 20% off coupon)
Grease an 8×8 pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving some edge so you can easily grab the caramels.
Grab 2 medium sized saucepans.
In one, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir just to combine and cook over medium heat, only swirling the pan while it boils away, until it reaches a nice amber color. In has a good pic in her step by step. This also goes super fast so no texting or nail painting after you see it’s barely started to turn brown. Ramonaeye that shit.
While it’s beginning to boil you can combine the heavy cream, espresso powder, butter, and salt. Bring to a simmer over a medium low heat just to make sure the butter’s melted and the espresso powder has dissolved.
You should still be good on the sugar, no burned bits. Once it gets that nice amber color we’re looking for, turn off the heat, pour in half the heavy cream mixture, let it go crazy, then pour in the rest once it calms down a little.
Pop on the candy thermometer and cook over medium heat, stirring pretty constantly, until the mixture hits 248/firm ball stage on the thermometer. Once it gets there, turn off the heat and pour into the prepared 8×8 pan. Let cool completely before sprinkling heavily with Maldon and cutting up with a sharp/greased knife. Store caramels in the fridge.
FOR THE TURTLES:
sort of adapted from Ree’s flawless pretzel turtles
There really isn’t a recipe for these, just sort of make as many as you can
Milk Chocolate ( far better for me than dark in this instance)
Salted Espresso Caramels, cut into approx 1/2″ x 1/2″ pieces
Toast the pecans in a 325 oven for about 5 min on a parchment lined baking sheet. Remove from oven and set on a plate to cool. Keep that parchment though. Place pretzels on your baking sheet, top each with a piece of caramel, and bake for like 1-2 minutes. We don’t want to melt, just soften. Ignore the fact that the ones pictured have melted caramel.
Remove from the oven and carefully press a pecan half into each one. Set in the freezer to cool down.
Melt down your chocolate and line another sheet with parchment paper. By now your caramel should have firmed up enough, take that out of the freezer.
Carefully place melted chocolate onto parchment lined baking sheet 1 t at a time. Do several of these, then place a pretzel on top of the chocolate. Boom. Done.
Let the sheet cool in the fridge then remove from sheet. Store in fridge if you can, nobody will die if they sit out for a bit.