Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homemade Caramels

Hello everyone!! It's been an unforgivable amount of time since I've last posted on here! Needless to say, it's been a crazy few weeks! But I'm making up for it with lots of butter and heavy cream (as usual!).

Let me tell you.....when it comes to making candy, I've had some serious cooking disasters. Last year alone I turned burnt sugar into a charred, smoke alarm ringing, smoke-filled kitchen mess on not one.....not two.....but three separate occasions. But as they say, "time heals all wounds" and this year, armed with my brand new candy thermometer and much trepidation, I was ready to try again! And, as you can see from the picture on the side.....success!!!

The secret is this..... when it comes to making candy, you need two things: a candy thermometer (don't even try to eyeball it. Trust me. Unless you were raised in Switzerland making candy at age 5 for Lindt, you will probably screw it up), and your undivided attention. Thats right....no multitasking. You must stand there and stare at your sugar until your eyes almost fall out. Don't turn your back for a second. No playing with your dog, no checking facebook, no running to the bathroom, nothing. If you can do that, you'll be golden. Let's make caramels!!

Before you start with the ingredients, prepare your pan. Line a 9x9 baking dish with greased parchment paper. Now you're ready!

There's really not a whole lot of ingredients! You need sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and heavy cream. That's it!

In a small saucepan, measure 1 cup of heavy cream, 5 Tablespoons of butter, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and it starts to simmer.

Here comes the fun part. Put your whisk down and just watch it simmer. You can swirl it around occasionally, but mostly just watch it. After a few minutes it will start to turn into a light caramel color. (Remember: no looking away!! Pay attention!)

When the sugar mixture is a light golden color, gently whisk in the cream and butter mixture. It will bubble up and sound pretty terrifying. Hang in there!! Everything will be okay!

Stick in your candy thermometer and let it bubble for about 10-15 minutes. (You should whisk it pretty often). The thermometer should read 248 degrees.

When the temperature is right, pour your caramel mixture into your lined 9x9 baking dish. (Be careful! It's super hot). Let it sit there for about two hours.

When it's nice and firm, pull the paper out of the pan and lay it flat on the counter.

Slice into 1 inch squares with a sharp knife.

*Side note: You can individually wrap these in waxed paper. Don't try to store them all smushed together in a bowl. They will just mold back into one big caramel. Yes. I'm telling you from experience.


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