Beery Good Pretzels

One thing about both kids being honors students in the engineering career cluster is that G-man has pretty much the same excellent freshman teachers as Sweet Pea had three years ago. One teacher they both have had--and have loved--is Mrs. M. She's a good teacher, but even more, she is kind. That quote, "They may remember what you teach them, but they will certainly remember how you made them feel" is soooo true.

Mrs. M. has an affinity for my salted caramel shortbread. From the single piece sent in 2010 for Teacher Appreciation, we've worked our way up to pans-full (and the recipe). She's really the inspiration for my experimentation in caramelizing sugar.

Before finding that shortbread recipe (from a doctor's office magazine waiting on afoot x-ray for SweetPea), I'd never even thought about caramel much.  But since then--and since Pinterest keeps throwing amazing salted caramel this and salted caramel that recipes my way--I've been a little caramel crazy.

This is one those recipes I found and pinned with her in mind. Something different, something I thought could be extra special.

I was right, as far as we're concerned.

C loves very dark, very hoppy beers, so we usually have a steady supply of  the kind of beers SprinklesBakes suggests in her post. Sugar, butter, cream...all staples around here.

Saturday night, when it came time to cook, we had Sierra Nevada Pale Ale,  Guinness Stout, and Abita's Jockamo IPA on hand. C sweetly allowed that I could have one (1!) 12-ounce bottle, even though he knew his "diabetic-friendly portion" of the resultant caramel would be roughly the size of a green pea.  (He's generous like that!) I chose the Abita, since it's locally brewed.

These things are gorgeous to look at and taste divine. There's a rich, hoppy undertone that mellows around on the tongue and keeps the mouthful from being eye-rolling sweet like some caramels. I used thin pretzels instead of SB's recommended rod pretzels, and I think just that tiny bit of salty crunch is nicely satisfying.

This year, thanks to Pinterest, Mrs. Morrill, and C's generosity, each teacher gets a handful of  Jockamo-Pretzel Caramels, neatly wrapped in wax paper and tossed in with whatever else they got to say "Thanks."

I hope they think of it as a chewy caramel toast to yet another good year. Cheers!

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