Pepita Caramels

Caramels. And not your ordinary variety. These caramels are made with pumpkin, maple syrup, and toasted pepitas. These caramels are a sweet bite of fall.

With Halloween approaching, these caramels would make the perfect addition to a table brimming with cooler-weather fare. One batch makes 64 little caramels (and believe me, one bite is sure to satisfy the sweet tooth in us all!)

This week is full of baking and writing for me. I have a few events lined up this weekend, and I’m plugging away on my thesis. Day by day. Night by night.

Ryan and I are in the market for a new bedroom set, and I can’t wait until we can move our cheap Ikea bedframe and mattress to the curb. Perhaps I could tempt someone to buy me this lovely walnut set from Interior Addict with a few of these caramels? I think a sleek, clean walnut frame calls for ample quilts and pillows, right? It’s all about balance.

And perhaps that is what I like most about these caramels. The balance of sweet and salty. The balance of chewy and crunchy. Not only are the flavors complex, but the textures are too.

So if you’re afraid of making caramel (yes, I know we all are to a certain extent), take a leap of faith and give this recipe a try. All you really need is a good candy thermometer and a bit of patience.

Pepita Caramels

2/3 cup unsalted pepitas
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/3 cup good maple syrup
1/4 cup of water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon fleur de sel
1. Dry toast the pepitas in a skillet until they start to pop.

2. Line the bottom and the sides of an 8-in square glass pan with parchment. Butter the parchment on the sides of the pan. Evenly spread out the toasted pepitas on the bottom of the pan, on top of the parchment.

3. In a saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices. Get this mixture quite warm, but not boiling. Set aside.
In a second heavy bottomed pan, with sides at least 4 inches high, combine the sugar, both syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted, Then let it boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the soft ball point on a candy thermometer). Then very carefully add the cream and pumpkin mixture, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees as registered on a on a candy thermometer. This can take awhile — like 30 minutes — but don’t leave the kitchen, watch it carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 230 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan.

4. As soon as it reaches the 240, pull it off the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir vigorously so that butter is fully incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes and sprinkle the salt over the top. Let the caramels fully set (at least 2 hours) before using a hot knife to cut them into 1-inch squares and wrapping them individually in waxed paper.

Monet

Anecdotes and Apple Cores

 

43 thoughts on “Pepita Caramels

  1. Sammie

    omigosh!! This looks amazing Monet!! Initially I thought those pepitas were pumpkin seeds until I read your recipe! haha.. Yay for more pumpkin recipes!! hehe.. Thanksgiving is actually coming up for us this week! So I’m plenty excited to be baking up lots of pumpkin goodies!

  2. amy @ fearless homemaker

    I love pepitas but i’ve never seen them worked into caramels – what a clever idea! =) I will gladly enjoy a few of these with my evening tea right now before I hit the hay. Hope you’re having a great week – I am so far, although i am already looking forward to the weekend, too! =)

  3. SallyBR

    Confession: I am afraid of making caramels.

    would anyone hold my hand if I decide to go for it? ;-)

    they do look lovely and perfect for the season, plus we will have a guest at home during Halloween… I am tempted

  4. Mary

    I would so love to try one of these! They look and sound like a great combination. Have a blessed though busy week, Monet!

  5. Nancy/SpicieFoodie

    Monet these caramels look out of this world. You are inspiring me to leave my fear behind and make some caramels. Or I might have to buy that bedroom set for you in exchange;) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hotly Spiced

    Those caramels look so gorgeous and so Autumny. I love how you’ve photographed them. When we were first married we had a lot of cheap Ikea furniture. I hated it and like you, was so keen to move it to the side of the road. I hope your new bedroom suite arrives soon! xx

  7. Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    Maybe you can convince them to give you this beautiful set for a bag of caramels :) I’m in a search for furnitures as well and it would be so great just to exchange it for food. 2 months ago I’ve discovered salty carmel ice creams and I have it from time to time since then. It’s a perfect connection of flavors.

  8. BarbaraJean

    Monet, Thank you for visiting my blog. These treats look delicious. Oh, and I hope you get your new bed. I’m sure the caramels will do the job. :)

  9. religious food

    I was thinking a lot regarding this topic, so thanks for bringing it up here. You certainly have a good writing style i like, so will be subscribing to your blog.

  10. Annie

    Yum! I’ve been making brittle and was thinking about caramels. Pepitas are a wonderful addition. Must make and that bed is beautiful by the way!

  11. Andrea

    Monet, these Caramels look just wonderful – I love their wonderful warm color and the list of ingredients sounds so delicious. I am sure that I would adore tasting them. And such great photography!

    Thank you also for taking the time to visit my blog! I really appreciated your lovely comment! And I really enjoyed visiting your lovely blog – I am looking forward to my next “visit”!

  12. Eileen

    I love the idea of sweet, rich pumpkin and crunchy pepitas in a caramel! These sound like they’d be perfect with a crunchy tart apple. :)

  13. Jessie

    What beautiful caramels! You’re right that I’m a bit (ok, very) nervous about making caramel — I did try it once and ended up with a mess. We do have an actual thermometer now and your directions are so easy, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work now. I’ll give it a try! Have a great day, Monet!

    P.S. Saw on FB that your pumpkin biscuits were featured on Tastespotting — congrats! :)

  14. Cass @foodmyfriend

    I absolutely adore this idea. They make me feel like they are healthy because they have pepitas :P I’m meant to be dieting this week. Needless to say, it’s not going very well…

  15. Amelia

    Hi Monet, your caramel look extremely good and the recipe look interesting too. Thanks for sharing the recipe cos I too love caramel.
    Now I’m dreaming of your caramel for my dessert, LOL
    Picture look excellent.

    Have a nice day.

  16. Susanne Hoffman

    You know you do need to open a bakery and coffee shop. I don’t know how you come up with this stuff- but it’s amazing and so tantalizing! Would have loved to tasted everything on the table at your last catering gig. Kudos Monet- you make me wish I lived in Austin- or could cart you two back to Colorado! :)

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