The smell of this caramel cooking smelled familiar to me and the first taste reminded me exactly why. This is one of the things I love about food (or in this case honey cardamom caramel). I love how it can evoke memories and take you back to a place you haven't visited in awhile.
Every Christmas, my Grandma Pinegar makes honey candy. Honey, cream, and sugar cooked together, then pulled and pulled and pulled until it can be pulled no longer, then cut into bite size pieces. Each piece is then wrapped in small squares of wax paper. (I have yet to try making honey candy after a taffy pulling incident that happened at my 8 year old birthday party at the Lion House that left me unsure about my pulling abilities. Just ask my mom. Hahaha!)
Those little wax paper wrapped honey candies show up every year in our Christmas goodie bags and are always a special treat. I remember being young and hiding mine in a special spot so no one would steal mine. I remember rummaging through my bag filled with empty wax paper wrappers hoping to find just one more piece of honey candy hidden in the wrapper aftermath that filled my goodie bag.
Along with the memory of the candy came memories of family, chicken dumplings and broccoli salad, a nativity scene, a white stocking, and simple primary songs about the Savior's birth. Memories of my Grandma wearing her long red dress with a green necklace, peppermint ice cream with hot fudge on top, and giant elf ears and Santa hats.
It's magical to me how something as simple as a honey caramel sauce can carry with it a goodie bag of memories filled with so much joy and love and of course...honey candy.
Honey Cardamom Caramel
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups honey
3/4-1 teaspoon kosher salt (start with 3/4 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
In a large saucepan combine the cream, honey, salt, and cardamom over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Continue to cook caramel until it reaches 235-240°F. Transfer caramel to a heat resistant container and let cool slightly (or to room temperature if not using right away). Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
We use this caramel for apple dipping. I'm sure it would be delicious over ice cream, but we just love it so much with sliced honey crisp apples. You could leave the cardamom out, but I've made this numerous times (always using the cardamom) and everyone loves it just the way it is.
Recipe and instructions (slightly adapted) from Food 52