I first met Vlad in 2006 or 2007, just before the start of my summer break from university. He was the manager of a clothing store in Richmond, where my school was located. I went there 15 minutes before they closed (I did not look at the time before walking in) and debated over a couple of tops I wanted. I asked to try the clothes on and only when I was in the dressing room did I realize how late it was. I felt so bad that I ended up buying both tops to make up for it. He escorted me to the cash register, chatting away the whole time before letting the girl at the register who was also his best friend, ring me up. He asked me what I was doing and if the clothes were for a special occasion so I made up this story about being in a rush to go with a friend who was eloping in Portugal (where do I come up with these stories?!) The whole time his friend was ringing me up he kept talking to me and smiling and winking. I couldn't tell if he was just being nice or flirting. When I left the store I was thisclose to going back and giving him my number just in case he was flirting, but decided against it and instead vowed to come back to the store when I was back in the country to see him again and see if anything was there. Naturally, I completely forgot and didn't see him again for another 2 years.
We finally met up again on the bus late one night on Australia Day. He was on his way home and I was on my way to a pub to meet up with some friends. By that time, we completely forgot about one another. I had my head down and eyes closed listening for the bus to call my stop. He sat next to me and asked if I missed my stop, which happened to be the next stop coming up. I asked him if he wanted to go to the pub with me and after hesitating, he agreed to come along.
Later that night, I promised myself that I would not see him again because he was a little too weird for me, but a week later, I found myself calling him because my friends were out of the country on vacation before the start of Spring term. The next day, he introduced me to his two little kids and we went out together into the city and I fell in love with his kids and also realized that he wasn't so weird afterall. In fact, after that day we spent every day with one another and Two weeks later, I moved in. It wasn't for another few months until I realized he was the man from the clothing store.
What does this have to do with beer pretzel caramels? Hmm... Well, our first "date" was at that pub where plenty of beer was consumed. That's all I got. I'm all crazy and sentimental and stuff, remember?
I never made caramel candies before, so I didn't really know where to start. I ended up using this recipe from Sprinkles Bakes (which I also saw on a few other blogs, so I am guessing maybe this is just a standard way of making this type of caramel?) The only difference is that I used Guiness in this recipe instead of a lighter colored beer simply because it's what my taste testers liked better. I also used the extra dark Utz pretzels because I loved the contrast from the darker pretzel (I think Snyder's makes an extra dark pretzel too)
Beer Pretzel Caramels
- 1 12 oz. bottle of beer
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1 - 1 ¼ cups crushed pretzels I recommend the extra dark
- In a small pot, bring the beer to a boil, then simmer until there is only about 1 ½ teaspoons left. This will be your "beer extract"
- In a large pot, bring the sugars, , butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup to a boil. Stir the mixture until all the ingredients have melted, then stop stirring. Allow the mixture to boil until it reaches 244 degrees F. You will need a candy thermometer for this as visual cues will not be enough. It should reach 200 degrees pretty fast, but it takes between 30 - 40 minutes until it reaches 244.
- While the mixture is boiling, cover an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Once the candy reaches 244 degrees F swiftly stir in the beer extract.
- Pour the mixture into the baking pan and sprinkle over the crushed pretzels. Use the back of a spoon to push the pretzels down a bit.
- Place the caramel in the refrigerator for about 4 hours, or overnight.
- Lift up the parchment paper and allow the caramel to sit at room temperature for about 10 - 15 minutes.
- Cut into small pieces and wrap with wax paper.
What type of beer do you recommend? Dark, light? I'm sure it's personal preference, but with a 4+ hour prep time, I'm wondering if you have suggestions. I'd hate to make a gross batch, eep!
I made mine with Guinness and I enjoyed it. Many people have made them using a pale ale or a lager and enjoyed it. I suggest using your favorite type of beer. You can maybe experiment by pairing your favorite beer with a piece of caramel candy and see if you like how it tastes together
The recipe sounds great, but it never mentions when the "beer extract" should be added to the sugar mixture.
Hi Joseph, Thank you for pointing that out. I am updating the recipe now. It should be added once the caramel reaches 244 degrees F.
Awesome! Thank you for the speedy reply. All the best for continued success with your blog. Very happy I came across it on Pinterest!
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom says
WOW! I mean my husband may never eat another thing again!
Christina @ Bake with Christina says
Beer, pretzel, AND caramel..that's impossible to ignore! All those flavors sound SO awesome together! Pinned 🙂
Christina @ The Beautiful Balance says
What a crazy twist of fate that you two ended up crossing paths again and how funny that you didn't realize it was him! These caramels look like a crazy twist of fate too because caramel and pretzels are such a perfect combination!
Joanne Bruno says
What a funny coincidence that you two ran into each other again after that first meeting! The world can be such a small place sometimes. 🙂 Love the sweet and salty in these caramels!
Ashley | The Recipe Rebel says
What a sweet love story you guys have! I'm loving the combination you've got going on with these pretzels -- they look amazing!
Katie @ Butterlust says
How serendipitous that you ran back into each other at the bus stop -- I loooove a good love story! 🙂 Also, caramels are the way to my heart so I'm getting mushy all over this post! YUM!
Haha Ive been mushy all over the place this month so im happy to have you join me!
Kimberly | Chic & Sugar says
What a fun little story! Sounds like you were destined for each other. I love these pretzels and definitely need to put them on my to-do list!
You wont regret making them! I made a few batches for the holidays and I am still not tired of them!