Ale and Pretzel Soft Caramels Recipe
Yield: 75+ caramels
1 12 oz. bottle of brown or pale ale, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 8 oz. package pretzel rods or sticks
1 roll of wax paper
1. In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of ale to a simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy. This will take about 20 minutes and yield about 1 teaspoon of concentrated ale flavoring. Set aside.
2. Butter a 13x9-inch pan or 2 9x9-inch pans and set aside. Combine remaining beer and all other ingredients except ale reduction in a heavy 4-5 quart pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Butter will melt and mixture will begin to boil.
3. Continue to cook until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees F; this will take about 30 minutes. You can test your caramel in a bowl of ice water to check the consistency. It should form a firm ball.
4. When the correct temperature has been reached, stir in the ale reduction and remove from heat. Pour into prepared pan(s) and top with pretzel rods. Let cool for several hours or place in fridge until firm. Remove caramel block from pan and turn pretzel-side up on a cutting board (Image 1). If refrigerated, let caramel block warm up a little for easier cutting. Cut between pretzels and then into 1" pieces (Image 2). Cut wax paper into approximately 5x5-inch squares and wrap caramels (Image 3).
Note: Caramels must be wrapped or they will lose their shape over time. Use silicone pans for easy removal.