Beer and pretzels are a natural combination—mix them with smooth caramel and you have an awesome candy. The guys will go wild over these crunchy, chunky chews. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, WI
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups miniature pretzels
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups dark beer
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 cup butter, divided
- 3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup corn syrup
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the pretzels, oil and vanilla. Add sugar mixture; toss to coat. Transfer to a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. foil-lined baking pan coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° for 18-22 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Coarsely chop pretzels; set aside.
- In a large saucepan, bring beer to a boil; cook until reduced to 2/3 cup. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, line a 9-in. square pan with foil; grease the foil with 1 teaspoon butter and set aside.
- In a Dutch oven, combine the sugar, corn syrup, 2/3 cup cream, water, salt and remaining butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 238°, about 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine reduced beer and remaining cream; slowly stir into sugar mixture.
- Using a pastry brush dipped in cold water, wash down the sides of the pan to eliminate sugar crystals. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 245° (firm-ball stage), about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the heat. Pour into prepared pan (do not scrape saucepan); sprinkle with candied pretzels and kosher salt. Let stand until firm, about 5 hours or overnight. Using foil, lift candy out of pan. Discard foil; cut candy into 1-in. squares using a buttered knife. Wrap individually in waxed paper; twist ends. Yield: about 3 pounds.
Originally published as Beer and Pretzel Caramels in Country Woman December/January 2012, p65
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