Pomegranate Caramels with Toasted Almonds and Kosher Salt

Friday, April 16, 2010

-This demure bowl of candy contains striking, super sour caramel that'll make anyone swoon. Photo by Elise Bauer.-

Do you ever come across a recipe that, once you see it, you realize that you immediately have to make it right then and there. That's generally how I feel about most of Matt's recipes. Of course, it's not just the recipes themselves, but the striking photographs - portals to his kitchen studio - and his writing that, if you met Matt, can immediately recognize as his voice and personality in print.

Now, given, most of the times I don't make the recipes I fawn over. Either it's a matter of time, ingredients, cost, or sloth; but this time the stars were all aligned. Assuming that one of those stars is a bottle of pomegranate molasses. The recipe in question was for fruit flavored caramels. The fruit called for were blood oranges. Lots of them. Blood oranges I did not have.

But blood oranges are kind of like pomegranates. Sorta. Kinda. Think about it. The taste is fruity and vibrant, as scarlet as their juice. Both are bold flavors reminiscent of berries. So, yeah, they can be interchangeable. In a pinch. When you need them to be.

In this case I did. And it worked out wonderfully. The caramels are surprisingly sour. Each bite causes you to suck on your teeth both from the tartness and from the candy sticking to the roof of your mouth and between your teeth. The salt sweeps your off your feet and makes the sour more sour, the sweet more sweet. The toasted almonds give a crunchy contrast, a warm nuttiness that balances out the sweetnsour(nsalty).

Pomegranate Caramels with Toasted Almonds and Kosher Salt

1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of almonds
2 teaspoons of kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Place almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Place in a bowl to cool.

Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper and set aside.

Place pomegranate molasses in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.

Remove from heat and stir in sugars, butter, and cream. Return to high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium and let boil until a candy thermometer reads 248 F. This only took me about 5 minutes, but my electric burner is possessed.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Scatter almonds on bottom of parchment paper. Pour caramel over almonds. Let sit until cool and firm, about 2 hours. Remove from baking dish and sprinkle salt flakes over top. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Wrap in squares of wax paper or candy wrappers.

-A good sharp knife to cut the chewy goodness.-


  1. This recipe looks absolutely divine. Usually, I'm scared s#!tless about making candies but this may be the one where I throw all caution to the wind and give it a go. :)

    I came across your blog when searching for bourbons, of all things, and when your post about bourbon came up, I about died. Sometimes, you just need a good, dark liquor to give you a slap in the back of the head.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Ok, you just about broke my brain with these. Pomegranate? Caramel? Salt? Zzzzzzzt*

  3. I know what you mean when you talk about a recipe you just HAVE to try... when I read your post, I knew I had to try it...

    So I went to the market, and bought blood oranges (as in the original recipe), but I quickly realised I didn't buy enough for the amount of juice required... so I added some pink grapefruit juice to the mix, and it worked wonderfully!

    Now it's sitting, waiting for the salt and the cut and the eating parts!
    I just know I'll have to try it again and use pomegranate, and perhaps something else as well... maybe wine?

    Also... I think my burner is possessed by the same demon as yours, because it took me 5 minutes to get the right temperature!

  4. Honestly, where the hell do you find pomeganate molasses? You say it like it's easily found in your nearby grocery store. Damn, I want to live where you do! *.*

  5. Anonnymous: Try online at Amazon. I got mine at a Halal deli. Look on Yelp for any mediterranean markets as well. Or, you can easily make your own by reducing pomegranate juice. The molasses is a great flaovr for roasting meat in, adding to salad dressings, and desserts. Plus one bottle lasts a LONG time. =)

  6. yum! this looks amazing, decadently sweet with a grain of salt :)
    salt and caramel.... one of my favorite flavor combinations.

  7. This looks awesome. I think I'd chop my almonds but wow.


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