Chow Bella

Salted Pumpkin Caramels: Chow Bella Pumpkin Showdown

From time to time, Chow Bella's contributors challenge one another to a showdown: Make the best dish you can, using one common ingredient. This time (naturally), it was pumpkin. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing the results, and at the end, we'll let you know who won.

Today, we continue with one of Chow Bella's fall interns, Hayden Harrison.

The one fall dessert I can't get enough of is caramel. It's probably thanks to my parents for letting us make caramel apples every year for Halloween.

So, when I came across a recipe for salted pumpkin caramels on Food52, I knew they would be a great balance of pumpkin and caramel for me to enjoy -- cooking and devouring.

See also: Halloween Contest: Dress Your Pet as Food and Win a Meal with Our Guilty Pleasures Columnist

Ingredients - Candy thermometer - Parchment paper - 2/3 cup of raw and unsalted pumpkin seeds - 1 ½ cups heavy cream - 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I made my spice with 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. nutmeg, - - ¼ tsp. ground cloves, and 1 tsp. ground ginger) - 2 cups white sugar - ½ cup light corn syrup - 1/3 cup maple syrup (I used grade A) - ¼ cup of water - 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into chunks - 1 tsp. lemon juice - ¾ tsp. fleur de sel

1. Place pumpkin seeds into a skillet and toast until they start popping. Stir occasionally.

2. Cut up butter and put in a bowl with lemon for easy usage later.

3. Line an 8-in square glass pan with parchment paper. Be sure to butter the paper to the pan. Once the pumpkin seeds are done, pour evenly across the paper.

4. In a saucepan, mix the heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices. Get the mixture warm, but don't let it boil. Set aside.

5. Get a second pan that has high sides, at least 4 inches. Mix the sugar, syrups and water. Stir until the sugars are melted.

6. Let the mixture boil to 244 degrees, which is the soft ball line on the candy thermometer.

7. Once it hits 244, pour in the pumpkin mixture. Bring this mixture back up to 240 degrees. Be sure to stir so it doesn't burn to pan.

8. When it reaches 240, pull of the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Stir quickly so the butter is fully mixed in.

9. Pour the mixture into the pan. Let sit for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle the salt over the top.

10. Let sit for at least 2 hours before trying to cut. I left mine in the fridge over night to make them easier to cut. Wrap individually in wax or parchment paper.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Hayden Harrison