Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ale and Pretzel Soft Caramels

This week it's all about dads.  I've been featuring a variety of recipes and easy DIY gift ideas that the special guy in your life would love.  From a fun s'mores filled beer mug to brown sugar bacon cookies (The ultimate man cookie), there have been some fun and delicious ideas shared with you so far this week, and the ideas don't stop there.  For the next 3 days I am going to have some delicious recipes that will be sure to win dad over.

Like these ale and pretzel caramels.  The salty and sweet combination is obvious in here; sweet and chew caramel paired with salty and crunchy pretzels.  Could it really get any better?  Um, the answer here is yes!  This winning combination has another addition that truly puts this candy over the top, beer.  And we're not talking just taking a bottle of beer and dumping it in the mix; this is beer two ways.
First, half of the bottled is simmered until it reduces to a thick syrup with a truly intense beer flavor.  Secondly, the remaining bottle of beer is added to the caramel mixture an simmered away.  Once the caramel mixture is completed the beer reduction is added and mixed in to the sweet, buttery caramel goodness.

That mixture is then poured into a pan and topped with pretzels and allowed to set.  Once the mixture has set, then it's time to taste the magic.  The end result is a gooey, chewy caramel that is the perfect taste and texture.  It's chewy, but doesn't stick to your teeth.  And trust me, when I was cutting these bad boys I was skeptical because the caramel strands were incredibly stringy.  So the perfect chewy caramel that is complimented by the salty crunch of the pretzels, all this with a slight beer undertone.

These caramels are truly amazing and would be the perfect addition to your dad's special day.

Ale and Pretzel Soft Caramels

1 (12 oz) bottle of brown or pale ale, divided
2 Cups granulated sugar
1 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Cup unsalted butter
1 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup light corn syrup
1 (8oz) package pretzel rods or 3/4 pretzels sticks, roughly chopped

Wax paper
Candy Thermometer


Place 1 cup of ale in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, reduce slightly and cook until reduced and syrupy.  This process should take about 20 minutes and yields about a teaspoon of concentrated ale.  Set aside.

Liberally butter a 9x13 or (2) 9x9 pans.  Set aside.

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan combine the remaining beer, both sugars, butter, creamy, and corn syrup.  Attach candy thermometer securely to the side, place over medium heat, being sure to stir the mixutre occasionally.

Once the butter has melted, the mixture will begin to boil.  Continue to cook until the candy thermometer reaches 244, this process should take about 30 minutes.  Once the temperature has come to 244, pour the mixture in the prepared pans and top with pretzels.

Allow the mixture to cool completely, or refrigerate to speed up the process.  Once the mixture is set and has cooled, turn onto a cutting board, placing pretzel side up, and cut into 1 inch pieces.  Wrap in wax paper.

Recipe source: Sprinkle Bakes

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