Making your own candy may seem daunting, but time and attention are all you need. This recipe calls for two sugars: granulated, which provides the base for your caramel, and an inverted sugar, corn syrup, which stabilizes and keeps the caramel from crystalizing. The line between soft-chewy and hard candy is a delicate one, so a candy thermometer is recommended for precision. Ginger and cardamom will add a nice zing, but lean into other warm spices, such as cinnamon, black pepper or chili powder, if that’s what you have on hand. A final coat of toasted, finely shredded coconut lends an almost buttery crunch, and prevents the pieces from sticking. Wrap up individually if you have the time: These are made for sharing and can be frozen for up to a month.
- Serves: 72 persons
- 1cup/85 grams shredded, unsweetened coconut flakes
- Coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan
- 1(13-ounce/390-gram) can coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk
- 2cups/400 grams granulated sugar
- ¼cup/60 milliliters corn syrup
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼teaspoon ground cardamom
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut flakes in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast until light golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
Step 2Brush an 8-inch baking dish generously with coconut oil or coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle about 3 to 4 tablespoons of toasted coconut in an even layer on the bottom of the pan, and set aside.
Step 3In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the coconut cream, sugar, corn syrup and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil, stirring frequently especially toward the end, until a candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees and caramel is a light golden brown and thickened, about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the ginger and cardamom.
Step 4Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Once the caramel stops bubbling and the surface forms a thin skin, about 3 minutes, sprinkle another 4 tablespoons toasted coconut across the surface. Allow to cool at room temperature and set completely, about 2 hours.
Step 5Run a spatula around the sides of the baking dish, loosen and lift the caramel, and move onto a board or clean surface.
Step 6Slice the caramel into 8 (1-inch-wide) strips, then across into 1/2-inch pieces, so you have about 72 caramels. Roll the sides of each piece in more toasted coconut. Wrap as individual sweets using 4- to 5-inch squares of parchment, wax paper, or cellophane, or use store-bought candy wrappers, twisting the ends to seal. Store at room temperature in a cool dry place. Caramels will keep stored at room temp for up to 7 days or frozen after wrapping for up to 1 month.