Sunday, December 29, 2013

Best Caramels Ever!

      These are real caramels.  No brown sugar or vanilla to ‘fake’ the caramel color.  You will actually be browning the sugar to create the color.  But beware!!!  It is going to get hot and steamy.  Wait, those are usually good thing.  Anyway, I found a recipe close to this on the web and I would go to the website every time I made caramels.  But, then the website was taken down.  Oh, the horror!  I didn’t bother to memorize the recipe and now it was gone.  So, I have no idea if this is the same as the one I found.  I had to start from scratch.  But, I think I have a good recipe here.  Give it a try!  This makes 24 1 inch caramels or the caramel layer for 36 snickers, samoas, milky get the point.

The New Awesome Caramel in my new recipe for Snickers.  To. Die. For!

What you will need:
  • -          1 cup granulated sugar
  • -          ½ cup corn syrup
  • -          ½ cup water
  • -          4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 a stick).  Take the butter out of the fridge and cut your 4 tablespoons into small pieces.  I usually cut mine into 12-16 pieces.
  • -          1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • -          1 teaspoon of salt

Tools you will need:
  • -          3 quart pan.  Don't go any smaller than this size. The mixture will bubble up a lot!
  • -          Candy thermometer
  • -          Whisk
  • -          A pan sprayed with nonstick spray or a silicone candy pan (I love mine!  I use them for so many treats)

Steps:  Read all the steps before starting!  This is not a ’learn as you go’ recipe.  You need to know your stuff first!

1)      This method goes fast.  You need to have everything ready to go before you start to cook.  Cut the butter and measure out the cream.  I put the salt into the cream. 
2)      In your 3 quart pan, place the sugar, corn syrup and water.  Whisk this mixture over medium low heat.  On my electric stove, I place the heat at 4.  Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. 
3)      Now, turn up the heat to high!  Yes, High!!!  Burn, baby, burn!!  Place the candy thermometer on the pan. Don’t stir!!! Don’t walk away!  I said don’t!  This is going to happen fast.  You want the mixture to reach between 290-300.  If you want a runny caramel, go for 290.  Want a sturdy caramel, go for 300.  Since I live it the mountains, I cook mine until 285 (subtract two degrees for every 1000 feet above sea level).  You want the sugar to just start to get color (a light amber).
4)      Now that the sugar is at temp, remove from the heat.  Put ¼-1/3 of the butter into the pan and whisk!  Whisk like there is no tomorrow!  Once the butter is incorporated, add another ¼- 1/3 of the butter.  Continue to whisk until all the butter has been added.
5)      It is scary now!  Pour the salt and cream in.  Start to whisk slowly!  Everything will seem calm when you add the cream.  But, once you start to whisk, the gates of hell will open up and the sugar mixture will hiss and shoot hot steam at you.  Go slow!  Once the mixture calms down, gently whisk until the mixture is smooth.  This whole step shouldn’t take more than a minute. 
 After cream is added

A few seconds later.  Nice and smooth!

6)      Pour it out!  You need to get it out of the pan as soon as you can.  And don’t scrape the pan.  The part that sticks to the pan is overdone and may have bits of hard sugar in it.  Not good eats! 
I love using silicone molds for the caramels.  They are all the same size.  I just put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up, pop them out and dip.  Love it!!!

This recipe may take a few test runs.  You need to pick the temperature that works for you.  If the first, or second, batch doesn’t work, don’t give up.  They are the best caramels I have ever had, homemade or store bought.  And they are very fast.  Give it a try!!

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