I mentioned on Tuesday that I had a ridiculously long list of Christmas baking last year, most of which I didn’t get to. (Isn’t that the way it always is?) This week I got to cross two things off this year’s list: Tuesday’s Homemade Eggnog and today’s Eggnog Caramels.
The Eggnog Caramels originated as an idea to use leftover holiday nog. I figured I could replace the usual heavy cream with eggnog, and tada! Well, the process was slightly more complicated than that…
These caramels take an exceptional amount of patience, something I’m usually lacking. All of my previous caramel experience has been of the sauce variety, so making caramel candy was a new adventure in persistence and patience.
For my first batch, I grabbed my big soup pot that I usually use when making caramels (the one that won’t boil over when it furiously bubbles), clipped on my fancy new digital candy thermometer, and got started. When the caramel was taking “too long” to get to the firm-ball stage, I nudged the heat up slightly. And what was, just minutes before, the beautiful aroma of warm milk, maple, and nutmeg quickly turned to that disappointing smell of burnt sugar. 😦
So I dumped the first batch, switched to a slightly smaller pot so that my thermometer could get a better reading, and started the second batch. This time, I resisted the urge to turn up the heat, and stayed up over an hour past my bedtime carefully watching the caramel bubble away.
The result was a pan full of beautiful caramel. I’m not a huge fan of eggnog, but I do LOVE caramels. And these are amazing: sweet and creamy, with hints of maple and a good amount of ground nutmeg. I was quite pleased with myself. I even got to try out my new set of candy equipment that I got for my birthday a few weeks ago! 🙂
These Eggnog Caramels are great for the upcoming holidays and will be a fantastic way to use up leftover nog. (I know that I mentioned on Tuesday that I usually shy away from commercially produced nog, but I wanted to use cooked nog since the caramels are heated to such a high temperature. If you’re concerned about chemicals and preservatives, buy organic nog if you can!) The caramels will keep for up to 3 weeks when stored in an airtight container. Wrap them in wax paper or cling wrap to keep them from sticking together and to make them easier to grab and eat!
Click below for the recipe. If you have a question, feel free to ask in the comments. And thanks for reading! Enjoy! 🙂