The holidays are over, so why not celebrate by making some candy? After all, there should be nice candy around all year long and not only for Christmas and New Year’s! Given all the funky stuff you find in store bought candy these days it might be nice to make a batch of your own containing whole food ingredients only. And it will probably impress anyone you serve it to! Of course if you have children it’s always good fun to make treats together with them to teach them to appreciate the kitchen, but when you make candy you have to be careful as no child should come in contact with it whilst it’s still hot as it can leave nasty burn marks.
This is a recipe we found at 101 Cookbooks, whom we regularly consult for amazing ideas for what to serve with coffee! In this recipe you can choose to use nuts, or leave them out. It’s entirely up to what you prefer.
2 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon espresso powder / finely ground espresso beans
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup honey
Special equipment: candy thermometer
Place the nuts in a medium sized, glass or ceramic mixing bowl.
In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan heat the cream, espresso powder, and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the milk touches the pan – just before a simmer. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture reaches 260F degrees – hard ball stage. Remove from heat. Pour the caramel over the nuts and stir until all the nuts are well coated. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 or 15 minutes to allow the caramel to thicken before you attempt to shape it. It is easier to handle this way – not as much spread. Stir one last time and drop by tablespoonful onto a prepared baking sheet (Silpat, parchment-lined, or oiled). Alternately, skip the nut addition and simply spread the (cooled but not set) caramel out on a slab or parchment-lined pan, let it cool completely before cutting into small pieces. Wrap & twist in parchment paper. In either case keep the caramels in a cool place (or refrigerate) until completely set. Makes 1 1/2 dozen nut caramels, or a couple dozen individual caramels (depending on the size).