Friday, December 3, 2010
Good as new. Who Knew?
It seems that even at my age, I can learn new things.
Earlier this week I attempted to make a batch of caramels, so Diann could take them with her on her shopping extravaganza this weekend.
I had everything done, and then, just when they got the right temperature, to take off the heat, I dropped my thermometer into the pan, I tried to grab it and got all busy worrying about that, and the caramel continued bubbling merrily away, and gained an extra five degrees or so.
So, when I poured them in the pan, and they set up, rather than the soft chewy caramels I had expected, the ones I have made in the past, I ended up with a whole pan of candies that felt and tasted and looked like Sugar Daddy's.
Now don't get me wrong, I like Sugar Daddy's, but that wasn't what I wanted. I wanted those soft chewy caramel that you buy wrapped in waxed paper at the cash register of truck stops all over the country. The ones that start to melt as soon as they hit your tongue.
I put out a plea for help on Facebook, and got several useful suggestions.
Throw them at people who walk on my grass.
Save them for next Halloween, and pretend like I wanted them that way,
Dip them in melted chocolate and roll them in chopped nuts.
Wrap them in waxed paper and carry them in my pocket.
Wrap them up pretty and give them to people I didn't like.
OK, some suggestions were more useful than others...
But my Aunt Linda, bless her heart, suggested that I put them back in the pan with a little milk or water and heat them until they were smooth, then pour them back out again.
This seemed to go against everything I thought knew about the candy making process. I thought that once sugar had reached the "firm ball" stage, it couldn't be restored to the "soft ball" stage.
But, with little to lose, I took about 1/2 cup of them and tried it.
Of course, instead of milk or water, I used cream, but who wouldn't?
I am happy to report that they turned out absolutely fabulously soft and chewy, and so I did the rest of the pan as well. Now Diann will have about five pound of soft, chewy caramels to share with her shopping cohorts this weekend.
So, for what it's worth, here is my caramel recipe:
2 C Granulated Sugar
1 C Corn Syrup
1/2 t Salt
2 C Heavy Cream
1 Stick Butter (I use salted, even though my recipe calls for unsalted. It seems redundant to use unsalted, when I am adding salt anyway.)
mix Sugar, Corn Syrup and Salt together and heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Once all the grains are gone, add the cream, and keep stirring until it is well blended. Bring it to a boil and add the butter, stir in until the butter is melted and stop stirring.
Heat to 245 degrees, remove from heat, stir in Vanilla and turn out into a buttered glass casserole dish.
Allow to cool and cut into bite sized pieces. Wrap in waxed paper.
*** Note, if the caramels come out too hard the first time, they can be softened by putting them back on medium heat and adding about 1/3 C cream. Stir until smooth and then pour back into a buttered pan.
I don't have any pictures, I have discovered that candy making is not something that lends itself well to doing with one hand while taking pictures with the other.
I will be joining Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday with this post
Please stop by there and see all the wonderful foods people are whipping up for the holidays.