There is much you can do with a pumpkin. First you’ll need to cook it.
Cut the pumpkin in half and discard the stem section and stringy pulp. Save the seeds to dry and roast. In a baking dish, place the two halves face down. Bake at 375ºF for about 1½ hours for a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, or until tender. Scoop the flesh and use it for: muffins, cakes, cookies, pies, soups, and…. caramels!
You will find several pumpkin recipe ideas on this site: http://dish.allrecipes.com/baking-with-pumpkin/
But now how about caramels…
I am a big fan of Kitchen Vignettes blogs and videos.
A couple years back I found and tried this salted pumpkin caramel recipe.
It is absolutely delicious and turned just like the photos she displayed.
Since Halloween is around the corner and it is pumpkin season I thought I’d share it with you.
It does ask for cream and maple syrup (which makes it an extra yummy candy) and if you have never made fudge before you may want to use a candy thermometer.
I think I might have gotten one of those just to try that recipe.
Here is her recipe with instruction.
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 1/2 cup heavy cream (35% or whipping cream)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. each ginger and nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp. each allspice and cloves)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fleur de sel or kosher salt
Toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet until they start popping. Line the bottom of a buttered 8-inch square glass pan with buttered parchment paper. Spread out the toasted pumpkin seeds on top of the parchment in the pan.
In the saucepan, combine the cream, pumpkin puree, and the spices. Heat it until warm, but do not let it boil. Remove from heat.
In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, combine the sugar, maple syrup, and water. Stir until the sugar is melted. Allow it to boil until it reaches 244 degrees (the upper limit of “soft ball” point on a thermometer). Add the cream and pumpkin mixture, and stir gently until incorporated. Allow this mixture to boil and bring it to 240 degrees on the candy thermometer. This is the part that takes time, around 30 minutes, so be patient and watch it carefully, stirring often so it doesn’t burn, particularly in the last stages when it gets very thick.
Once it has reached 240, remove it from heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice swiftly, stirring well until both are fully incorporated and butter is melted. Now immediately pour the caramel into the pan, all in one go, on top of the pumpkin seeds. Let it cool about 30 minutes and if you wish you can sprinkle the salt on at this stage (or wait later and individually sprinkle salt on each square once they are cut). Wait at least 2 hours for caramel to fully set before slicing. Use a hot knife to slice them more easily, cutting them into 1-inch squares. You can wrap them individually in waxed paper.