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.