A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Homemade Caramels

I made caramels before, but they were for molded chocolates, which I found very tedious and not worth the effort. These caramels are slightly harder so I could dip them by hand. I decided against using my candy cookbook’s recipe for the caramels and instead used My Kitchen Cafe’s recipe. I’m finding that my little Field Guide to Candy cookbook isn’t has awesome as I thought it would be, mostly because it doesn’t give pictures of any of the steps. Just the a finished product in the middle of the book.

These things are slimy like slugs, I definitely wore gloves to wrap these little gems up in wax paper. At least I think they’re slimy like a slug, although I’ve never actually touched a slug, so how would I know? Scratch that analogy and lets move along.

I found Melanie’s (owner of My Kitchen Cafe) directions very clear and straight forward. She even warns that she likes very soft caramels and only cooks it until 234 degrees. I was worried this was going to be too soft, so I cooked it to somewhere near 248 degrees, or the hard ball stage. I just kept dumping a little bit of the cooked caramel into a bowl of ice water and squeezing it until I liked the consistency.  I forgot to write down the temperature I cooked it to. Cut me some slack, it was somewhere around 1 am when the caramels finished cooking.

I decided I’d be super sneaky and line a pan with aluminum foil and then spray it with Pam instead using a pan that was buttered as per the recipe. Don’t do this. The foil will stick and you’ll be standing for 45 minutes peeling small bits of foil off the caramel. Let me tell you about frustrating…and slimy and sticky tin foil. Just don’t do it, butter the pan and wash it. I’m positive it will take less time and be less frustrating.

After I finished peeling off all the bits of foil I cut it up the giant block of caramels into small pieces by cutting columns and then rows. I have no idea how many had, all I know is I had WAAAAAY too many. Any one like soft caramels? I’m pretty sure I could have gotten away with half of a batch. Live and learn my friends, live and learn.

These were mobious in super slow motion. They sat on the counter for about an hour and slowly they lost their nice firm edges and became slightly larger blobs. One even tried to make a break for it by splouging over the edge. My mom and I wrapped the larger or oddly shaped ones in wax paper to fill up random holes in the tins. My dad even helped out by keeping a supply of cut wax paper coming so we could continuously wrap them.

After we wrapped the oddly shaped or too large pieces, I dipped them in chocolate:

Some of them even had nifty marks from the fork tines! And look! Tempered chocolate.
Keeping count, ‘eh? Fine. Tempered Chocolate Score Board – Rene: 2.5 Tempered Chocolate: .5. I’m totally beating chocolate. It’s a good feeling my friends. Stressful, but good. I can’t tell you how many times in the last week I had to retemper chocolate after having to reheat the melted chocolate so I could continue dipping things. Total headache.

Next I think I shall talk about my adventure with Peppermint Bark.

“My Mom’s Famous Caramels”
From My Kitchen Cafe 
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk (add only ½ to begin with)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9X13-inch pan. Set aside.

In a medium heavy saucepan, add sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, salt and butter. Over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to ensure the sugar is completely melted.

Bring the mixture to a boil and add the rest of the sweetened condensed milk when it begins to boil. Insert the candy thermometer and clip onto your pan at this point. Once the second half of the condensed milk has been added and the mixture is boiling again, stop stirring to prevent sugar crystallization (which means the caramels will have a grainy texture).
Boil the mixture still at medium-low heat, without stirring until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage on a candy thermometer (234 degrees F). If you like your caramels a bit firmer, you can cook them up to 248 degrees F, which is firm ball stage but I prefer mine really soft (I will warn you that most people find this stage a bit too soft so use your best judgment and preference).
When the caramel reaches the right temperature, immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and toasted pecans (if using). Carefully pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan without scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the caramel cool completely before cutting into squares and wrapping in waxed paper. 
*Do not scrape the sides or the bottom of the pan. Yucky yuckiness lives there. You don’t want it.
If you go to either link for My Kitchen Cafe, it will take you to her post on the caramels with lots of helpful tips.

You must be logged in to post a comment.