Introduction: Pumpkin Pepita Caramels
Do you want the perfect fall-time treat?
Something soft and chewy?
With toasted, nutty pepitas?
Full of pumpkin and warm autumn spices?
You're in the right place!
By the way, these go perfectly with a cup of coffee...
Ingredient List for Pumpkin Pepita Caramels:
½ cup raw pepitas
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp fresh ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp fine sea salt
1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup warm water
4 Tbs butter, cut into small pieces
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
Step 1: Toast the Pepitas & Prepare the Pan
In a dry skillet over medium heat, cook the pepitas until they just start to turn brown and start to pop; remove to a plate and set aside.
Line an 8X8 square pan with parchment paper. I always find this a little awkward, but it's necessary. I cut two pieces of parchment paper, both a hair less than 8" so they fit in the pan perfectly. I put the first piece in and crease it where the pan bends and then at the top. I place the second piece in the opposite direction and do the same.
Step 2: Heat the Sugar & Prepare the Pumpkin
In a heavy-bottom, medium-sized pan combine the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup and water. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar and then let it cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches “soft ball” stage, or 244 degrees F. Do not stir after the mixture has begun to heat (this could cause crystallization).
Meanwhile, in a second saucepan combine the heavy cream, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and sea salt. Heat over low and allow to warm, but do not let it boil.
Step 3: Combine the Hot Sugar & Spiced Pumpkin
When the sugar mixture has reached 244 degrees F, add the warmed cream and pumpkin mixture and bring the temperature back up to 240 degrees F (this will take about 20-30 minutes). Stir gently and frequently to prevent burning.
Prepare the butter by cutting it into small pieces. Scrape the seeds from vanilla bean pod and set them aside. When 240 degrees F is reached, turn off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla beans seeds.
Step 4: Pour Into the Pan & Add the Pepitas
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and allow to cool for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the toasted pepitas over the entire surface of the caramel. Don't touch the caramel with your hands, it is very hot!
Allow the caramel to cool for at least three hours, or until set. Remove the whole block of caramel from the pan (using the parchment as handles) and place it on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1” squares and wrap each one in wax paper or place into paper candy cups.
Store in an airtight container.