>> Saturday, October 23, 2010
I love the leaves turning colors, the crispness in the air, the smell of bon-fires, sitting by a fire, hot chocolate, pumpkins, and everything else about fall.
One of my favorite times in the fall is Halloween. Ever since I was in high school, I have loved sitting at home on Halloween night, watching a movie, sipping hot cocoa (if it was cold enough in Charleston :) ) and passing out candy to the trick or treaters. I loved seeing all the costumes, oohing and aahhing over the little babies dressed up so the parents can eat their candy, and telling the teenagers not dressed up so they don't get any candy! :) My favorite ever costume that has come through was a 6 month old baby dressed up as a Hershey's kiss! SOO cute. And she was an only child! ha.
My husband supports my love for fall! Being the wonderful guy he is, he knows I'm a sap, and can't get enough of fall fun, so he endures taking me to pumpkin patches like I'm a child, carves a pumpkin for us every year, and deals with the fall decor in the house, only mentioning that "it looks like fall threw up in our living room" when I really go overboard!
On the first day of fall, he always buys me a card to celebrate, and this year was no exception - he even bought be a fall themed bouquet of flowers. :)
With all the candy corn, red and orange, pumpkin bread (my favorite recipe coming soon!), and gingerbread lattes going around, I happened to notice Peet's had some pumpkin caramels. I didn't want to spend the $10 bucks they were selling them for in the store, so I decided to make them. I have a favorite salted caramel recipe, so I tweaked it a bit to add the pumpkin for a nice fall twist. The texture was a bit different than I imagined them to be, but they were AWESOME!
What's your favorite season??
A few notes for making them -
*the texture of these makes the dipping a bit harder, so I recommend refrigerating them to get them nice and set, then cutting them and dipping them in chocolate to get better squares.
*You will need a candy thermometer to get the caramels at the right temperature
*Try not to make these on a day when your house will be 98 degrees because it's 106 degrees outside - because they will not set. And then your caramels will look like poop blobs! :)
* The best way to temper chocolate is to use a heating pad set at medium - No work, no fuss, and you don't have to watch it - it stays at 110 degrees by itself.
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. Fleur de Sel salt plus more for sprinkling
22 oz. dark chocolate (61-70%), tempered at 110 degrees.
Line the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat the paper and sides of pan with flavorless vegetable oil. DON'T SKIP this step - it will make a mess.
Cook the sugar in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
While the sugar is cooking, place cream in a sauce pan and bring to a scald. When the sugar has reached a deep-amber color, remove from heat and carefully add scalded cream, corn syrup, and pumpkin puree.
Return to heat and cook mixture until 252 degrees. After mixture has reached temperature, remove from heat and stir in butter and salt.
Pour into pre-lined baking pan, let stand for 2-3 hours or overnight until cool and firm.
This is what it looks like when it's 100 degrees in your house. Poop!
Temper the chocolate in a saucepan and dip cut squares in chocolate. Place on parchment paper until dry. Sprinkle with remaining Fleur De Sel.