Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blood. Orange. Caramels.

Some days, we come across a flavor combination that just blows our minds. Bitter chocolate and ancho chili pepper at Vosges Haut Chocolate. Brussels sprouts and sriracha at Joseph Leonard. Ahi tuna with brown butter at Mas (farmhouse).

Today, we stumbled across a flavor bomb at one of our favorite sites ever, MattBites. Blood Orange Caramels. With Toasted Almonds. And Sea Salt. Matt, you have brought us to our knees.

images via MattBites

Matt Armendariz is well-known and widely admired (by none other than Miss Martha Stewart herself) for his incredible photography and artistic direction, and everything on his site is just so damn appetitey. Thank you, Matt, for your consistently inspiring work.

Speaking of inspiration, we're making these TONIGHT.

(This recipe reproduced from MattBites)

Cindie’s Blood Orange Caramels with Toasted Almonds and Sea Salt
Could you use regular oranges? Perhaps. I wouldn’t. Blood oranges are very special and I’m quite fond of them. And they are in season right now. Cindie says if you prefer a tart candy you can cut the brown sugar in half. I happen to think they were just perfect as written.

3 cups blood orange juice, strained
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted almonds
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

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

Place blood orange juice in a 4-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until liquid is reduced to 1/3 cup.

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 or deep fat thermometer reads 248 degrees F (or when a half teaspoon placed in a glass of icy cold water turns into a firm, chewy ball), about 17 minutes.

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.

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