They go together like PB & J. Guinness and pretzel caramels that are buttery and soft with a rich full flavour from the stout. Add the salty pretzels in and you’ve got a winner. These babies wont get stuck in your teeth making you look like a camel for the next few hours. I can’t stand overly hard, sticky caramels for just that reason so these are perfect in my opinion!
If you do not like Guinness, then you could substitute any dark beer for this recipe. I chose Guinness because of its rich, unique flavour. It’s really hard to describe and there isn’t really another beer like it out there that I’ve tasted. Oh, and yes, I know it’s actually a ‘stout’ if you want to be all technical *wink*.
First, excuse some of my pics. I did most of this at night and my lighting apparently is awful! Anyhow, this recipe can take a bit of time, but there are parts that you can easily do in advance. Candying the pretzels is one thing (shown upper left). Since they have to cool before you chop them up, you could do these a few hours or days before your ready to make the caramels.
Reducing the Guinness down over heat is another one that can be done in advance (above right). My father was over when I was doing this step and he said it was a crime that I was reducing 4 cups of Guinness down to 2/3 cup (without drinking it). He didn’t feel that way after he tried the finished product! So if you decide to do this step in advance, refrigerate it until you are ready to use, but let it come up to room temperature before you add it to the recipe.
You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.
Reduce the Guinness
4 cups Guinness (2 cans)
Add Guinness to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 2/3 cup. Set aside and let completely cool.
Candy the Pretzels
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 generous cups mini pretzels
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp canola oil
In a small bowl, mix together sugar and salt. In a large bowl, mix together pretzels, vanilla and oil. Add in sugar mixture and toss to coat all the pretzels.
Bake in a 350°F preheated oven on a foil lined and greased baking sheet for 18-20 minutes. Give them a stir a few times while they cook. Remove and once cool, chop into smaller pieces. Set aside.
Time for Caramel!
1 cup butter, plus more for greasing pans
3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp kosher, coarse salt (to sprinkle on top at the end)
Line a 9×9 inch square pan with greased tin foil (tip; grease foil before pressing it into the pan). Set aside.
In a large dutch oven, add sugar, corn syrup, 2/3 cup of the cream, water, salt and butter. Cook over medium heat while stirring, until candy thermometer reads 238°. Approximately 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1 1/3 cups of cream and the reduced Guinness. Slowly add to sugar mixture while stirring.
Stir constantly until candy thermometer reads 245°, approximately 30 minutes. Use a pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush down sides of dutch oven to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
Remove from heat and carefully pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with candied pretzels and kosher salt. Let set until firm, about 6 hours, or overnight.
Turn out of pan and remove foil. Cut with a sharp, lightly buttered knife (thinner blade if you have one) into desired size. Wrap them up individually in pieces or parchment or wax paper, twisting ends to secure.
To store, I suggest no more then a week at room temperature. If you wish to store for longer, refrigerate or freeze them.