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Caramel and Tempered Chocolate…kinda sorta…not really.

Last night should have been an EPIC meltdown night. And I’m not joking, it was a long long night of caramel making and chocolate tempering. Perhaps I’m maturing? I wouldn’t count on it.

I realize the last few posts involve situations in which I should have melted down, but I swear it really does happen. It isn’t some hyperbole, for those of you who know my mother can ask her, I’m sure she has lots of stories she can share. Sometimes, while I’m baking or cooking and I get about 99.9% of the way to being done, I do something stupid and it doesn’t turn out correctly, I break down into a pile of Rene-goo and cry. Now, if I screw up in the beginning (like adding to much salt to flour or confusing baking soda and baking powder) I tend to grumble chuck it and start over.

Anyway, back to what should have been an epic melt down. I swear I’ve made caramel before in my high school home economics class. I suppose we made what is called “wet” caramel, which is adding water (and in some cases corn syrup) to the sugar to dissolve the sugar crystals before it starts to caramelize. Some people swear it makes it easier to get the correct flavor of caramel and other swear that it makes much more finicky. Last night I did what is called “dry” caramel where you melt sugar by itself and then cook it to the smoking point and then add in cream and butter. “Smoking point” scares me and brings back memories of Ron White saying talking about his wife’s cooking and the smoke alarm “its done before that particular timer goes off”.

The first time I made the caramels, I followed my book exactly: melted the sugar and then cooked it for another 8 minutes without touching it, brought the cream to a simmer, then added the melted sugar to the warm cream….which turned into a brick. In the trash! Rene: 0 Caramel: 1

The second time I apparently stirred the sugar too much while it was melting so it clumped to hell and back. So that got chucked. I turned off the heat to the cream and did some reading up on caramel making. Out with the dishwater! For those of you keeping count; Rene: 0 Caramel: 2

Third time’s the charm right? Yeeeeeeah, kinda sorta…but I’ll take it. So I made the caramels and they seemed perfect, but I don’t think I cooked the sugar long enough. They seemed too soft and had a little bit of an off flavor. However, both Leigh and my parents agreed they were good. So who am I to judge? Now, let’s move on to the tempering process. Those keeping track; Rene: 1 Caramel: 2

I think I smashed up the seed pieces too small to be entirely effective. The chocolate was kinda sorta but not really tempered. They didn’t melt as soon as they hit your fingers and there was the crisp snap to them, but they weren’t shiny (and new…hehe) because they had bloomed slightly. “Bloom” for those not in the know is the white cloudy stuff that is on top of chocolate that sits out too long. Its still perfectly good and you can absolutely still use this chocolate to temper or eat, it just doesn’t look all that pretty. So next time: larger pieces and I’ll take a picture so you get an idea of what “larger” is :).

So final count – Rene: 1.5 Caramel: 2 Tempered Chocolate: .5*
* Tempered Chocolate gets .5 a point because it didn’t totally work out correctly…Oh bother. 

Without further ado, I bring Caramels!

Oh, I made these with molds…in my highly inexperienced opinion, molds are not worth the trouble. I’m going to make the caramels a little bit more firm next time so I can just hand dip them. Be gone molds! Be gone like  last semester!

Annnd, here’s the inside:

Om nom nom…if you like caramels. Which I pronounce car-mel and Leigh delights in telling me that’s a place, not a food and the food is cara-mel. I think he’s wrong. And I’m female so I’m always right. Harumph.

Remember! I’m going to do an “about me” post in the near future…what do YOU want to know about little ol’ me? Comment in the post or the post immediately below to let me know! :)

OOOOOOOOOO!! TIP! When you’re done making a mess in a pot with melted sugar, fill the pot with water, put all the utensils covered in sugar in the pot, and put it back on the stove. Let it come to a boil for a few minutes. I always let it boil for a few minutes because I forget about it. Then dump out the water and viola! No more sugar mess.

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