Beer and Pretzel Caramels
7 tablespoons (100 g) unsalted butter, plus 1 teaspoon for greasing the baking sheet
1 cup (700 g) heavy cream
3 cups (600 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (150 g) barley malt syrup
2 teaspoons (10 g) fine sea salt
About ¼ cup (100 g) beer reduction (recipe follows)
2 ½ cups (150 g) crushed and sifted crunchy pretzels
1 teaspoon (5 g) coarse sea salt
1. Grease the bottom and side of the baking sheet with the 1 teaspoon butter and set aside on a heatproof surface.
2. Combine the cream, sugar, malt syrup, fine sea salt and the 7 tablespoons butter in a large (6-8 quart) stockpot. Stir a couple of times with the heatproof spatula just to make sure there aren’t any big clumps of dry sugar, then bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and insert the candy thermometer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 252 degrees F/122 degrees C (hard ball stage,) about 20 minutes. (Watch it closely: once it reaches 240 degrees F/115 degrees C [soft ball stage,] after about 15 minutes, you’ll want to stay nearby and stir it more frequently as it tends to scorch on the bottom of the pot.) Remove the pot from the heat.
4. Stir in the beer reduction, then the pretzels and coarse sea salt. Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the pot several times to incorporate everything.
5. Put on your oven mitts and carefully pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out with the spatula, distributing the pretzel pieces as evenly as possible. Allow it to cool until it’s firm to the touch, 1 to 2 hours.
6. Run the tip of a sharp chef’s knife around the edges of the baking sheet to loosen the caramel. Turn it out onto the lined cutting board, cut it into 1 by 1 ½ inch pieces, and wrap them in the wax twisting papers. Store the caramels in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks (let them come to room temperature before you eat them.)
6 bottles (12 ounces each) beer, preferably a strong, dark ale
1. Pour the contents of 3 of the bottles into a large (6-8 quart) [pt, and place it over high heat. Stir frequently to dissipate the carbonation and prevent the liquid from boiling over. Once the beer is at a rolling boil, slowly add another bottle and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil again. Repeat until all the beer is in the pot.
2. Cook the beer over high heat, stirring constantly, until all the carbonation has dissipated and it’s no longer in danger of boiling over, about 20 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the volume of the liquid is dramatically reduced (to about 1.2 cup) and the reduction had the consistency of real maple syrup (it will thicken to the consistency of fakey pancake syrup as it cools). Remove from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
4. Store the reduction in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month. Adapted from “The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook”