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Creamy Chewy Caramels

I've been on something of a sugar binge, and nothing will do but for me to teach myself how to make the caramels I want. The first time I tried to make caramels, I used this recipe from 101Cookbooks, and they mostly came out okay-ish, but either due to the extremely high temperatures inside my apartment (that place was a sauna) or some other deficiency, they tended to melt at room temperature. My next try was these orange-scented caramels from the Craftzine blog, which came out like rocks. Hard sticky ones. My dad lost a crown to those suckers.

However, a little help from Google brought me to this recipe, from about.com of all places, and I have found my happy caramel place, where the caramels are perfect and wonderful (and don't need corn syrup).

Time: ~30 mins to make, ~2hrs or so to cool
Cheapness: not bad.
Difficulty: pay attention and be bold
Meal: dessert
Servings: not enough for your entire Christmas gift list, but enough for that small party you are going to.



Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup cream
* 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (a little extra never hurts)
* 6 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
* 1-1/3 cups light brown sugar

Preparation:

1. Grease a small (6x6 inch) square pan. I am fond of Crisco or similar for this purpose.

2. Combine the sugar, cream, butter, vanilla, and 1 TB water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir with a spoon over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the butter is melted.

3. Bring to boil and cover for 3 minutes.

4. Uncover, but do not stir! (Do whatever the hell you want) Continue boiling until a candy thermometer reads just under 250 degrees. The hotter you heat the syrup, the harder the caramels will be at the end. Somewhere between 245 and 250 should give you a nice soft caramel. Err on the side of lower, but don't go lower than 245.

5. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and let it cool down. I was having a problem with my caramels crystallizing if I used a spatula to scrape down the pan. I'm not entirely sure what the problem was there, but I will recommend against it. I have successfully used a spatula to scrape into a little custard cup, and it was fine, so no idea.

6. When it is still slightly wet, score the top into squares, and then leave to harden completely.

7. Once firm, cut into pieces and wrap individually in waxed paper or cling wrap. Candies can be store in an airtight container at room temperature (not refrigerated) for up to one week.



Other notes:

If you are so unfortunate as to have your caramels crystallize, they can be rescued! Allow everything to cool, and then get it out of the pan and back into your (washed) pot. I added a little cream to help dissolve the sugar again (water would probably also be good), and warmed everything back up and it was great! Be careful of the amount of liquid/cream you are adding, however, as they could cause the caramels to come out softer than desired. Mine had to be sort of scraped out of the pan, so not so awesome if you are planning on giving them to people. I think the solution would be to continue to warm over low heat for a bit, giving the additional liquid time to cook off.


xposted to dreamwidth here