You might see a lot of sweet potato recipes on my blog over the next month. I want to put a patio in our backyard, so I am determined (determined!) to win the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission’s No More Mallows Blogger Recipe Contest. So, having the eye of the tiger and determination and things like that, I decided to start things off big by making sweet potato caramels.
When I did a Google search for “sweet potato caramels recipe,” all I found were a bunch of pages about Morinaga sweet potato caramels, which I happened to have bought when we were in Japan a few years ago. While they’re delicious, they’re not the buttery, gooey kind of caramels we’re used to in the US. They kind of have the texture of a Starburst with a very mild caramel flavor. I wanted to use sweet potatoes to make crazy decadent caramels. The kind that make you weak in the knees. Having never made caramels before, I figured it would take me a few tries to perfect them, but I surprised myself and got them right the first time by using the cooking instructions and proportions from this caramel recipe and then tweaking them a little.
I debated whether I should add cardamom or chipotle powder to my sweet potato caramels, but I settled on the trio of cinnamon, ginger, and allspice instead because I felt that they would appeal to most palates. This combination of spices makes these caramels almost taste like sweet potato casserole. (Sweet potato casserole, but better!) For a Japanese twist, omit the spices altogether and top with black sesame seeds instead. And although the name of this recipe contest is No More Mallows, if you really wanted to, you could allow the caramel to cool and then wrap it around marshmallows.
These are time-consuming and labor intensive to make, but they are so worth it. And they are definitely the kind of caramels that make you swoon a little when you eat them.
Go to Spiced Sweet Potato Caramels recipe
Note that caramels are very temperamental--too much humidity, sugar crystals on the side of the pan, and even slight variations in temperature can make them too hard, too soft, or crystallized.
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