SMiLes by Meg

Honey Macadamia Coconut Caramels

Working in corporate law often feels like you’re either barely staying afloat or barely have enough to fill a day. For example, on Wednesday, I worked past midnight and still didn’t get everything done. On Thursday, I got home at 5:30 and spent the evening making these caramels. It’s definitely taking some getting used to.

But a free Thursday night means you get a good recipe this week! I’m hitting “publish” on this from a weekend with my family down in Florida, so if Thursday hadn’t happened to be a light day, you may not have gotten a recipe at all! (Just kidding, I’d never miss a blog post.)

I think caramels are a good introduction to making candy. One of the baking things I’m afraid of is using a candy thermometer. I really don’t know why – I think it’s just that cooking sugar can go so wrong, so fast. And I even have a Thermapen, which is literally the easiest thing to use ever. So I decided to suck it up and try this week, since caramels are also a pretty fast thing to make.

First, toast the coconut. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 350°F for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden and fragrant.

Then, get all the ingredients in order. In a medium saucepan, put the butter.

In a large bowl, put the dry roasted macadamia nuts and toasted coconut.

And in a small bowl, combine the heavy cream, honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla seeds.

Melt the butter over low heat.

Stir in the cream mixture until combined.

Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Do not stir, but use thermometer to monitor until the temperature gets to 253-255°F. It will probably take more than 10 minutes.

When it does get to 253°F, work quickly. Pour the mixture over the nuts and coconut, stir, and spread into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Use a small offset spatula to smooth the top.

Allow the caramel to sit at room temperature to solidify for at least an hour. Then, use the parchment paper to remove the caramel to a cutting board and cut into pieces. (I’ll let you decide how big.)

You can store these at room temperature in an airtight container. I wrapped them in little pieces of parchment paper to make them look more candy-like.

And that’s it! With a Thermapen, it really wasn’t so bad. Maybe I’ll start making other candy, too!

Enjoy!

Honey Macadamia Coconut Caramels

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry roasted macadamia nuts
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod

Directions:

  1. Toast the coconut by spreading on a baking sheet and baking at 350°F for 2 to 3 minutes, until turning golden and fragrant.
  2. Combine macadamia nuts and coconut in a large, heatproof bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine heavy cream, honey, corn syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla seeds.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
  5. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Do not stir, but monitor temperature until reaches 253-255°F.
  6. Working quickly, pour mixture over nuts and coconut and stir to combine. Spread into an 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top.
  7. Allow to sit at room temperature to solidify for 1 hour.
  8. Use parchment paper to transfer to a cutting board. Cut into individual caramels.

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