So it took me a few days, but I finally got my butt into the kitchen and made the caramel squares (by the way, my butt has been in the kitchen many times in the last two days, just not to make squares). Holy moly, they are delish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I found a great vegan caramel recipe on the web that took me in the right direction.
Luckily Pete works at home and happened to slide into the kitchen for a coffee when I was working on the caramel. The recipe said cook for 2-3 minutes…45 minutes later we had the perfect caramel for the squares. Pete grew up watching his sister Christine make treacle (yep, they’re Brits!) so he knew exactly what to do. Nothing like a man who knows his way around a kitchen.
They’re not quite ready for public consumption – just family consumption. I need to test it out a few more times, play around, eat a few more, share some, and get a little more feedback. I figure two to three more batches. I’ve never actually done this before – baked without a recipe – and it is sooooo fun!!!
Here’s my notes in case you’re interested in giving these gluten-free, vegan delights a go.
Toast and chop about a cup of pecans. Set aside to cool.
Melt 2 bars of dairy-free chocolate (200 grams) and pour into 12 muffins cups. I use silicone muffin cups and I think it’s essential for this recipe. You need to be able to pop the treats out when all is said and done. Leave chocolate to set as this is the first layer of three. I think there was about 1/2 and inch in each muffin cup. I would use less next time.
Make the caramel:
Place 3/4 cups soy milk,
3/4 cups evaporated cane juice,
1/3 cups brown rice syrup in a saucepan and whisk to combine.
Cook on medium heat, whisking regularly, for 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon of water. Add to the saucepan.
Cook this mixture until it thickens (see terribly amateur pic below). I cooked it, stirring constantly, for approximately 40 minutes.
Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of vegan margarine and 1 teaspoon of vanilla (I would omit this next time). Add the pecans and let it cool for 15 minutes or so.
UPDATE: I made these again today (October 8th, 2009) and the caramel only took about 20 minutes!!! What a huge difference. It could’ve been two factors: I got a brand new stove! So maybe the element is better. Or maybe it’s just that I’m more comfortable with the recipe and I was more willing to really let the caramel mixture boil and move about in that pan. Who knows?
Pour caramel on top of the prepared chocolate layer. Maybe one inch. Put in the fridge to cool.
Once cool, melt more chocolate for the third layer. I used the same amount as I did for the first layer. Let cool.
Pop out of muffin cups and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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