To speak the obvious, the holidays are upon us! We’ve got Thanksgiving and the start of Hannakuh this week. And Christmas is exactly a month from today. Are you ready? Yeah, me neither. So even though I have not got around to getting gifts and roasting a giant tofurkey, at least I won’t come empty handed because I’ve got these caramels!
These little candies are the perfect accompaniment for all your holiday gatherings. Going to a Thanksgiving where the host has already agreed to make EVERYTHING? Bring these instead of (or along with) that bottle of wine – it’ll be more personal and they are so perfectly petite that you don’t have to feel guilty about munching a few down before the big feast.
Or these would be wonderful to have on the table during a winter gift wrapping party (am I the only one who has those? It’s really the best excuse to make mulled wine and listen to Christmas records with friends). Or to bring to that ugly sweater party. Or really just to have out on the table all December long while you prep for the holidays.
I used Left Hand Brewing Company’s Milk Stout in this recipe to give these little candies a creamy stout punch. However, feel free to use whatever beer or alcohol you prefer. Maybe some brandy or rum (probably not gin or vodka? That just sounds unappetizing – but that’s just me)? Or some hard cider or non-alcoholic apple cider? The options are seriously endless so feel free to get creative with this! I think that, in the end, there is enough delicious sugar and butter in these that you can’t go wrong with the alcohol of your choice.
Milk Stout & Sea Salt Caramels
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 2 Tablespoons milk stout beer
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Thick sea salt for topping
- Candy thermometer
- Wax Paper
Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper (make the sheet slightly larger than the pan so the paper lines the sides as well) and grease the paper with oil or butter.
Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir often and let cook for 8-10 minutes or until golden amber. Remove from heat and whisk in the condensed milk and butter (the mixture will bubble and that is a-okay).
Fit your candy thermometer on the saucepan and place pan back on the burner. Turn burner to medium low heat, whisk constantly, and slowly cook until the thermostat reaches 240 degrees. Once at 240, immediately remove from heat and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon salt and beer. Pour into prepared baking sheet and let cool.
Once cool (this could take several hours or I let mine sit overnight), sprinkle with thick sea salt and cut into 1 inch pieces. Cut 4 inch pieces of wax paper and wrap the candies in the wax paper (I rolled mine in the center and then twisted the two ends in opposite directions). Repeat with the rest of the candies.
Enjoy! They will keep up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.