Beer and pretzel caramels
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer, preferably a strong, dark ale
Butter (for the pan)
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups sugar
6 tablespoons barley malt syrup
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups crushed and sifted crunchy pretzels
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1. In a large pot over high heat, stir the beer until it comes to a boil. Let it simmer, stirring constantly, until all the carbonation has dissipated. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the beer reduces to 1/4 cup. Cool to room temperature.
2. Butter a rimmed baking sheet and set aside on a heatproof surface.
3. In a stockpot, combine the cream, sugar, malt syrup, fine salt, and the 7 tablespoons butter. Cook over low heat, stirring, until there are no large clumps of dry sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Lower the heat to medium and clip a candy thermometer to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the mixture reaches 252 degrees on the thermometer (hard ball stage). Watch it closely. Once it reaches 240 degrees (soft ball stage), after about 15 minutes, stay nearby and stir it more often as it tends to scorch on the bottom of the pot. Remove the pot from the heat.
5. Stir in the beer reduction, pretzels, and coarse salt. Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the pot several times to incorporate everything.
6. Put on your oven mitts and carefully pour the caramel onto the baking sheet. Spread it with the metal spatula, distributing the pretzel pieces as evenly as possible. Leave to cool for 1 to 2 hours or until it is firm to the touch.
7. Run the tip of a sharp chef’s knife around the edges of the baking sheet to loosen the caramel. Turn it out onto the cutting board, cut it into 1-by-1 1/2 inch pieces, and wrap them in the wax paper. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks (let them come to room temperature before you eat them. Adapted from “The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook”