The Art of Beer Cooking: Caramel

While perusing my new favorite site (or some may call obsession), Pinterest, I came across this picture titled ‘Ale and pretzel caramels’. The creamy sweetness of the caramel with the bitterness of the ale and salty pretzel sounds so intriguing. I haven’t had a chance to make this recipe yet, but can’t wait to try it! The recipe is courtesy of Sprinkle Bakes.

1 12 oz. bottle of brown or pale ale, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 8 oz. package pretzel rods

1 roll of wax paper
Scissors

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of ale to a simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy.  This will take about 20 minutes and yield about 1 tsp. of concentrated ale flavoring.  Set aside.

Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan or 2 -9×9 inch pans and set aside. Combine remaining beer and all other ingredients except ale reduction in a heavy 4-5 quart pot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Butter will melt and mixture will begin to boil.

Continue to cook until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees, this will take about 30 minutes.  You can test your caramel in a bowl of ice water to check the consistency.  It should form a firm ball.

When the correct temperature has been reached, stir in the ale reduction and remove from heat.  Pour into prepared pan(s) and top with pretzel rods.  Let cool for several hours or place in fridge until firm.  Remove caramel block from pan and turn pretzel-side up on a cutting board (if refrigerated, let caramel block warm up a little for easier cutting).  Cut between pretzels and then into 1″ pieces.  Cut wax paper into approx. 5 x 5 inch squares and wrap caramels.

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