First attempt at making toffees. Quite a process, but the combo of coconut milk, spices and coconut sugar is rather delicious. This is adapted from Sweet Things by Annie Rigg (Kyle Books, 2013).

400ml coconut milk or cream
10cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
6 cardamom pods, bruised
2 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
150g soft brown sugar
75g golden syrup
50g non-dairy spread or butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch salt
220g coconut sugar
2 tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted
50g dark chocolate, melted

sugar thermometer

Grease a square baking tin and line with baking paper. I used 20cm, however, my caramels were quite flat. Annie uses a 17cm square tin. You could use 2 loaf tins too, to get more height from your caramels.
In a small saucepan heat the coconut milk and spices over a low heat for about 5 mins - do not boil. Add the brown sugar, golden syrup, butter or spread, vanilla and salt and mix well until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and put the lid on.
Put the coconut sugar into a large saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Heat over a low heat to dissolve the sugar without stirring. Bring to the boil and continue to cook until it becomes a dark caramel colour (you can swirl the pan gently to ensure the sugar caramelises evenly).
Working quickly, reheat the coconut milk mixture until it just comes to the boil. Continue to cook the caramel until it is a deep maple syrup colour - this should take less than a minute. Take off the heat and strain the coconut milk mixture into the caramel through a sieve.
Return the pan to the heat and stir until smooth. Put your thermometer into the pan and bring the caramel back to a steady boil and cook until it reaches 120C - this will take 20-30 mins. Stir frequently with a heatproof spatula.
Pour the caramel into your tin and sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut. Leave to set for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Lift the caramel out of the tin and cut into your desired shapes. Melt your chocolate and dip the underside of each caramel into it or use a knife to spread. Leave to set on a tray lined with baking paper.
Wrap each one in a twist of baking paper and store in the fridge.