Howdy ya’ll, I’m Jeannette and I’m super excited to be your hostess tonight. And no, I’m not Texan ;)
Thinking back, I don’t think I was ever put into a position where my “job” as hostess inspired such anxiety within my soul. I am constantly fidgeting and moving in my seat as I type this. So if this post seems out of sorts or scattered (well, more so than it usually is) shush it. I’m nervous and I tend to ramble. :D
Most hostesses try to please everyone with their recipe choice: ease of instructions, ingredients on hand, time to make it, dishes dirtied, etc etc etc. Me, not so much. It basically boiled down to one thing, WWTFE: What Would The Fiance Eat? He’s picky and for once I wanted to make something he’d try without me having to bribe him with a new video game. Men. ;) But to my surprise, the steps are fairly simple and straight forward, the ingredients list is minimal, its all done in ONE saucepan, and WHOOO doesn’t like caramel?! So I think I did pretty well. Don’t you? Please say you agree. I’ll buy you a video game…….?
Moving on, caramel has never been my friend, when it comes to making it anyhow. The first few times I can blame it on the fact that I used a meat thermometer in place of a candy thermometer. (If there’s no difference between the two, I’m still blaming the thermometer). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But I love caramels and I had a vision of salted caramels dancing in my head and I was determined. Thinking nothing could go wrong, I decided to make BOTH flavors of caramel. I grabbed my handy thermometer, with bloated self-esteem in tow and got to work.
Only to botch the first attempt (the Honey Cream Caramels).
It isn’t scorched, it isn’t inedible. It’s just hard. But the taste… oh my… it defines description. Deeeeelish. I assessed the situation and the problem and went on to try batch two (Chocolate Cream Caramels) and whatever I did, I did right!! I can finally add ‘candy making’ to the short list of things I have successfully accomplished in the kitchen! Hoorah!
Soft enough to chew, firm enough to get nice clean edges, tasty enough to eat an entire batch by myself. I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. And if you didn’t master these, please try them again. They are worth it. Pinky swear!
I changed some things (due to forgetfulness and lack of ingredients, which I will note in red. Just in case anyone cares ;D)
Chocolate Cream Caramels
From the Sweet Melissa Baking Book
Recipe yields 2-1/2 pounds caramel (sixteen 2-inch squares or sixty-four 1-inch squares)
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup clover honey
2-1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups heavy cream (I used 1-2/3 because I was short a tad)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I omitted simply because I forgot, oops)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghittard)
BEFORE YOU START: Lightly butter (I used Pam) an 8 x 8 x 2 -inch square pan.
1. In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, havey cream, and butter. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 248°F (I pulled it off the stove once it reached roughly 242°F) on a candy thermometer (firm-ball stage). Remove from the heat.
2. Stir in the vanilla and 4 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped to the hot caramel mixture. Stir until smooth.
3. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Set aside, uncovered, in a cool place to firm up. (This is where I sprinkled on a bit of sea salt, if you like it.)
4. When firm, loosen the edges of the pan with a buttered knife. Turn out onto a clean work surface and, using a lightly buttered chef’s knife, cut into squares.
Wrap each square in wax paper. The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 2 weeks.
Well that’s my time folks. Head on over to the SMS board to learn any tips and/or tricks that were useful to the other bakers and make sure to check out the very talented assortment of SMS bakers on the SMS blogroll.
Good night everybody!