After making my cream caramels, I decided it would be fun to experiment. In particular, I was curious to know if the recipe would work with low-fat milk instead of cream. Unfortunately, my adherence to the scientific method was somewhat lackluster. Instead of introducing a single variable, I introduced two: pistachios and low-fat milk.
These caramels were not as soft as the plain ones, but they were not altogether hard. I suspect, though, that it was the chopped pistachios and not the absence of cream that made these caramels a little harder. On the topic of taste, I’m happy to report that these caramels were just nearly every bit as wonderful as the ones with cream. They lacked a little touch of the “creaminess” – for lack of a better word – that the originals had, but the difference is incredibly slight.
I’m happy to report, then, that these low-fat caramels were every bit as wonderful as the original cream caramels!
low-fat Vanilla-pistachio caramels
PREP TIME: Requires a few hours of cooling
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
YIELD: 16 to 20 Caramels
WHAT TO GRAB:
1 cup vanilla-sugar (recipe here)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup low-fat milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 or 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush the paper with the vegetable oil.
2. In a small pot, bring the milk, butter, and one teaspoon of the sea salt to a simmer, over medium heat. Do not let it boil. Once it has reached a simmer, turn off the heat, and set it aside.
3. In a deep saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir only until the sugar has dissolved. Then allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, until the mixture is a warm, golden brown. Watch very carefully, as the caramel can burn quickly toward the end. (It can be helpful to use a wooden spoon and drip some of the caramel onto a white plate to gauge the exact color).
4. When the sugar mixture is done, remove it from the heat and slowly add the butter-milk mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful because it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla.
5. Return the mixture to the heat and cook over medium-low heat until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm ball), about 10 minutes. Finally, stir in the chopped pistachios. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. (Don’t scrape the pot). Refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.
6. Remove the caramel from the refrigerator and allow it to come close to room temperature. Pry the caramel from the pan. On a cutting board, cut the square in half. Using parchment paper, roll each piece of caramel into a tight 8- to 10-inch log. Sprinkle the logs with sea salt. Cut each log into 3/4-inch or 1-inch pieces. Individually wrap each caramel in glassine or parchment paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or in an air-tight container.