Last weekend I went to Montreal, where I tasted delicious American made coconut caramels. Looking at the ingredient list, I was convinced that I could make these myself. There were only 4 ingredients: Cane sugar, brown rice syrup, coconut milk, and sea salt!
So, with the help of DicedTomato, and some minor adaptations, Caramels were made!
I'm not super happy with their firmness (this might have happened because I don't have a candy thermometer) but goddamn, are they delicious.
What's in them?
1 cup of cane sugar
1/2 cup of brown rice syrup
less than 1/2 cup of Earth Balance (salted, otherwise add a little salt)
1 cup of coconut milk
a pinch of sea salt
First I simmered the sugar and the syrup on medium/medium-high heat, not stirring, for about 10 minutes. It got darker, reduced by a small bit, and when I swirled it, I could no longer hear any sugar granules.
In another pot, I warmed the coconut milk and melted the Earth Balance. Then I removed the sugar from the heat and added the coconut milk mixture, stirring it in quickly and well. Then the pot went back on the stove and bubbled away for probably another 15-20 minutes, while I stirred it frequently. Because I have no candy thermometer, I tested it for doneness by dropping a small amount in a bowl of very cold water. If it dissolves in the water, or forms a string, it's not ready yet. When it starts to form itself into a soft ball that holds up when you touch it, it's about ready.
Following DicedTomato's instructions would probably be a better idea if you have access to a candy thermometer.
I then poured the mixture into a lined, greased baking tin (if you have a silicone baking tin, you can skip the lining probably and just grease it) topped it lightly with kosher salt, and let it set overnight. This morning I still found it a bit too soft to cut, so I put it in the freezer for a few minutes, and then used a sharp knife to make rectangles. Oh man, I like these. Next time I will try coating them with chocolate (maybe making a little ball or square).