Jaggery Caramels (Gur Candy) for Lohri

Jaggery Caramels, Gur Candy

Every year my mom brings us ‘Lohri’. She says it’s tradition for parents to send peanuts, gur, atte de biscuit, and rewri to a married girl’s home on the holiday. As much as I hate the desi concept of girls belonging to a new home after marriage, I have become accustomed to my mom bringing food and gifts at Lohri and find it sweet. That being said, no one ever eats the rewri at our house!

Jaggery Caramels, Gur Candy

Every year I tell my mom that the rewri are just too hard and too sweet for us, but she says “it’s tradition”. A couple of years ago I did a bit of digging on this tradition and found that til and gur (sesame and jaggery), the main components of rewri, are shared on  Lohri because it’s such a cold time of year in Punjab. Sesame is a garam (warming) food – so it helps generate body heat. What I’ve found over the years is many of our traditions are rooted in logic, we’ve just forget it along the way.

That being said, since we have indoor heating in Canada, and I don’t really want to crack a tooth, I decided to put a new spin on the traditional rewri & gur this year – jaggery caramels with sesame seeds. These melt in your mouth treats are so yummy, and they are soft! Featuring gur and sesame, they fit the bill for Lohri treats, and they are popular with adults and kids. Seriously, I originally made these just before Christmas to test the recipe, and the whole batch of over 100 candies was gone by Christmas Day.

Jaggery Caramels, Gur Candy

JAGGERY CARAMELS // GUR CANDY

Notes:

  • Making caramels is not hard! I know it looks daunting, but it’s just a matter of following the steps exactly like baking.
  • Caramel and sugar get extremely hot & can cause burns. Please work carefully and keep little hands out of the way!
  • For my recipe I adapted the basic caramels recipe from Martha Stewart. Milk & Cardamom also has a Masala Chai Jaggery Caramels recipe on her site, if you are interested in experimenting with flavours!

jaggery caramels, gur candy

{So much concentration!}

Jaggery Caramels Recipe

This recipe is based on using a standard baking sheet for the caramels.
Yield: 81-144 pieces depending on size of cut

Ingredients:

Vegetable oil for greasing the baking sheet
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup of powdered jaggery
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups of golden corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
up to 1/8 cup sesame seeds for topping

*You will need a candy thermometer to get an accurate temperature for soft ball candy

Directions:

1. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet lightly with oil. Line the sheet with parchment (over top of the oil), leaving a 2 inch overhang on the sides. Lightly brush parchment with oil also.

jaggery caramels, gur candy

jaggery caramels, gur candy

2. Bring cream, sugar, jaggery, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high; cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.

*note, the caramel will bubble up as it cooks so use a tall pot with a heavy bottom for this part of the recipe. The pot should leave at least 3-4 inches above the cream for space to bubble. (I learned this the hard way – as you can see from my little pot above!)

jaggery caramels, gur candy

jaggery caramels, gur candy

3. Immediately remove caramel from heat once it reaches 248 degrees (soft ball), and stir in salt and vanilla. Pour caramel onto the lined & greased baking sheet. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the caramel. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

* sesame seed notes –
I made half the tray with sesame and half without because my husband doesn’t like sesame.
You’ll want just a thin layer of the seeds, with some of the caramel showing through. Otherwise they will overpower the taste of the jaggery.

jaggery caramels, gur candy

jaggery caramels, gur candy

Lifting the parchment and transfer caramel to a large cutting board. Cut into pieces and wrap each piece in waxed paper or cellophane.

I made a variety of sizes because I was trying to figure out which looks good in the pics, but if you did a 1.5 x 1.5 inch square you could easily get at least 100 pieces from a tray. In the end, my favourite shape was the long rectangle ones, they look really nice wrapped up!

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I hope you’ll give these jaggery caramels a try, and if you do don’t forget to send me a picture, or tag me on Instagram.

PS: If you liked this post you might also want to take a look at some of these:
Easy Lohri Tablescape/Decor
Gur & Til Popcorn
How to Celebrate Lohri with Your Kids
Lohri Bonfire Cake

 

 

 

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