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Chewy Chai Caramels

I make caramels for Christmas every year. They started as a random addition to the dessert table but they’ve evolved into a tradition that has me hand-wrapping hundreds of little caramel squares late on Christmas Eve-Eve. I bring them to parties and give them out to friends and family in mason jars or tins decorated with poinsettias or snowflake patterns. I usually make them with vanilla and sea salt, but in preparation for this year’s batch, I experimented with a few new flavors.

Masala chai was my most successful experiment. The warm flavors of black tea, cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon mixed well with sugar and cream. Think chai latte meets chewy caramel.

To flavor the caramel, I simmered loose chai in cream and let it steep.  Continue Reading →

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Recipe Rookie: Salted Caramels

I took my second foray into candy making on Sunday afternoon. My first was with chocolate truffles for a New Years Eve party and this time around, I decided to take on salted caramels. The inspiration came from a Barefoot Contessa episode I saw a few weeks ago, during which Ina Garten made Fleur de Sel Caramels rolled into small circles and topped with a sprinkling of salt. They looked delicious and easy to make, as long as I had a candy thermometer and kept a close eye on things. Continue Reading →