Wednesday, December 21, 2011
In amongst the flurry of packing last week, Ada had her last day of Kindy. It was a big day as any mother knows, my baby is all grown up and ready to start pre-primary next year! Far out.
As a little token of my appreciation for all the hard work her teachers have put in this year, I made up a few little gift bags containing a version of these cookies and a handful of home made salted coconut caramels.
When I think back to Christmas as a kid, along with the memories of Hawkes Bay cherries by the boxful from my Great Aunty June, water pistols fights on the lawn and Nana-naps after lunch, are the evocative memories of big bags of Mackintosh lollies! It was the only time we were allowed to eat lollies freely and although it's been years since I've eaten one I still remember my favourites being the yellow; eggs and cream and harrogate, followed by the blue; malt and pink; coconut. The last one being my inspiration for today's recipe.
Soft, buttery, chewy, slightly salty, definitely sweet these caramels make the perfect festive gift. I'm sure everyone has already got their Christmas presents sorted (well mostly? Started at least?) but should you find yourself with a spare hour and the desire to play around with hot sugar and butter these are an awesome little project to undertake, especially in the quiet hours of night after the kids are tucked up in bed dreaming about what Santa may bring...
I'll be back sometime after Christmas but until then I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Hope you have a good one, also if you haven't already done so leave a comment here to go in the draw to win a copy of the Martha Goes Green calendar, I'll draw Christmas day and announce the winner in my next post Xx emm
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* gluten-free fruit mince pies
* carrot, white bean & coriander salad
* strawberry & rhubarb jam
salted coconut caramels
We tolerate butter and cream in small amounts now, but if you don't, you might like to try this out using lactose-free cream (available everywhere here in Australia but not so sure back home in NZ?) and dairy-free margarine. No guarantees in will work as I haven't tried it myself, but might be worth a shot? Coconut cream cannot be used in place of regular in this recipe, it separates when heated. I used reduced salt butter for this recipe and added 1 teaspoon sea salt, if you use unsalted butter I'd use the full 2 teaspoons and if you use regular I'd use 3/4-1 teaspoon. Mine could have been slightly more salty. You could always sprinkle a little more flaked sea salt on the top before wrapping if desired.
- 2 1/2 cups organic raw sugar
- 600ml cream
- 125g butter
- 1-2 teaspoon fine sea salt *see above
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 cup (unsweetened) desiccated coconut
- melted butter, to grease
Line a 18x28cm rimmed slice tin (aka brownie pan) with aluminum foil (tin foil) and grease generously with melted butter, making sure the aluminum foil comes up and over the sides. Place the tin onto a folded tea towel and set aside (the tin will get really hot once the caramel is poured in, so the tea towel will protect any kitchen surfaces from damage and make it easier for you if you need to move it).
Combine sugar, cream, butter, salt and cream of tartar in a large saucepan (note the large pan, the mixture does boil up and over if your pan is too small, I know). Stir over med-low heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat, bring to the boil and boil without stirring for about 20-25 minutes or until the temperature reaches 122 C/ 250F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from the heat, add coconut and swirl the pan to roughly distribute. Pour mixture into the foil-lined tin leaving behind any dark solids in the bottom of the pan. Set aside for 4 hours or until set.
Lift the caramel from the tin using the aluminum foil for help. Use a oiled knife to cut into small logs. If the caramel is still really sticky (like it gets on a hot summers day in Perth!) simply pop it in the fridge to firm up slightly for 10-20 minutes before cutting. I cut mine into roughly 2.5 cm x 2cm logs. Wrap in cellophane. If you live somewhere hot, store in the fridge until serving/giving away.
Recipe linked to:
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-free
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