In case you didn’t hear my news on Facebook or Instagram, the Homemade, Healthy, Happy brood is growing. Yes, I am expecting a baby! Over the last couple of months, early pregnancy has been wreaking havoc in my body – morning (ahem, all-day-and-night) sickness, loss of appetite, low blood sugar and accompanying dizzy spells… Fun! My nausea levels this time have been far worse than with Tyler, and I have really struggled to eat or drink much at all. For a while I was having issues with low blood sugar as I just wasn’t able to consume anywhere near enough calories and was getting dizzy. I knew I needed to work out a relatively healthy and quick way of getting my blood sugar up on those days when food was hardest to swallow. And so, I decided to make some Honey Ginger Caramels!
With the sweetness in these Honey Ginger Caramels coming from unrefined sources (honey and rapadura), I knew they would help get my blood sugar up whilst still offering more nutritional value than other sugary treats. No nasty ingredients (colours, flavours, etc) either! And these caramels also offered the tummy-soothing zing of ginger and a bit of healthy fat to offer sustained energy. Perfect. Exactly what I needed – and SO yummy, I bet they’ll stick around once morning sickness has moved on. Even my ginger-phobic 8 year old loves them, as the ginger taste is warming but not overly spicy.
A delicious treat, morning sickness or not! I hope you’ll give them a try.
Now, this recipe does involve a thermometer, but don’t let that scare you off! This is one of the easiest home candies you can make. If you haven’t made candy before, I would recommend getting a good digital kitchen thermometer and reading the paragraph below about the hard ball stage in candy-making. Then you’ll be armed with all the info you need to make yourself some delicious Honey Ginger Caramels. One little word of warning: the syrup gets VERY hot so do not touch it, and I’d recommend you don’t involve younger kids in the making of these caramels. Although, they will be very happy to help you eat them later!
Testing the stage of your Honey Ginger Caramels syrup:
While your honey syrup heats, place a small shallow dish of water in the freezer. You will use this water to test the stage of your syrup later on. As your honey syrup nears the desired temperature, begin testing your syrup by using a clean spoon to drop a small amount into your cold water. If it dissolves, your sugar syrup is not yet hot enough. The hard ball stage has been reached when your sugar syrup stays together and forms a malleable but firm ball. This youtube video is a great visual on the hard ball stage for beginners.
The hard ball stage is reached at around 125-133 degrees Celsius; for these Honey Ginger Caramels, we want our honey syrup to get up to the higher end of the hard ball temperature range, to about 130 degrees Celsius. Experienced candy-makers tend to know when to start testing the syrup stage by the look of the syrup and its bubbles, but I have a confession: I quite like the safety net of my thermometer, thank-you-very-much.
It amazes me how such simple ingredients transform from watery syrup to a thick, luscious mass of syrupy bubbles and then eventually a big slab of caramel. Pure magic. Pure deliciousness.
Oh, AND – I get my honey from Nature’s Gold Honey. Amazingly delicious, local, raw, organic honey produced by a wonderful family. You can purchase it direct from the farmer/producer, which means you’re supporting local agriculture and you get it cheaper than in a retail store. Two thumbs up!
- 2 cups water
- 85g piece of ginger
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup rapadura sugar
- 60g butter
- Candy thermometer
- Peel and grate your ginger, then place it in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to the boil then simmer for approx. 25 minutes, or until mixture has reduced by half. Strain ginger out and keep the liquid.
- Meanwhile, grease a small loaf tin and line with baking paper (greasing the loaf tin will help the baking paper sit flat).
- Rinse your saucepan and return your ginger-liquid to the saucepan; you should have about 1 cup of liquid (if you have less, add water to make it up to 1 cup). NOTE: You need to use a saucepan that is at least 3L capacity as the syrup will bubble up quite a bit.
- Add honey and rapadura sugar, and heat on high until the syrup reaches 130 degrees Celsius (or the hard ball stage tested by the cold water drop method).
- Immediately take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in the butter.
- Pour syrup into lined loaf tin and leave to set for at least 2 hours (fridge or room temperature is fine).
- When firm, turn caramel slab out onto a chopping board. Run a sharp knife under hot water and use the wet knife to cut your caramel into cubes. Note: If you set your caramel in the fridge, allow to return to room temp before cutting.
- Wrap each piece individually in baking paper and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 months.