Friday, December 21, 2012

Making Caramels


So when I came across this recipe with a few alternatives in Martha Stewart Living's December issue, I decided to make caramels for my co-workers for Christmas.

I made the classic caramels as well as the chocolate coconut caramel candies.

The process was very simple, but there are a few things you need to be particular about in order to be successful.

Temperature is key!
 You really do need an accurate candy thermometer, and I don't think mine was too accurate. I ended up using the look of the caramel, color, gauging when it started to really crystallize. This recipe calls for the caramel to reach 248 degrees F, but working with a gas stove made that pretty difficult, as the pot doesn't heat up evenly.

I was worried about burning the caramels (you can't come back from that!), so I took my classic caramels off the stove a pinch too early. After 8 hours of waiting for them to set, though, they firmed up and had a great caramel consistency.

I definitely took the chocolate caramels off the stove too early, as I couldn't guess the color of the caramel after the chocolate was added. These only firmed up to a thick chocolate sauce consistency, so after they set, I melted the caramel in a pot and heated it up a bit more. This totally fixed the consistency problem, and they turned out even better than the classic caramels.

And you really do need to use a LARGE POT for these. Because of the cream, the mixture boils and foams up pretty high, so you need that extra height to prevent it from spilling over.

Be patient and watch these on the stove. Don't overmix. Sometimes it's good to just let the mixture be on the stove.

The recipe did make a large number of caramels. It took FOREVER to wrap them all up in saran wrap.

I packed them in these cute Martha Stewart gift boxes from Michaels to bring to the office.

What do you usually give your co-workers for the holidays?

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