Salted Caramel Candies!

11 Dec

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I’ve been noticing (and buying) fancy caramels at many artisan markets around Boston. My husband loves them. So, when my Martha Stewart Living came this month with a recipe, I knew I wanted to try them. Before I set out to make these, I honestly had no idea what goes into a caramel – they’re a dairy product – blew my mind. I was pretty intimadated by making candy for the first time, so I followed Martha’s recipe exactly. Here’s what I used:

1. 2 cups of heavy cream

2. 2 and 1/4 cups of sugar

3. 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4. 1 and 1/4 cups of light corn syrup

5. 1/2 teaspoon of salt

6. 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

7. 9 x 13 inch rimmed baking sheet coated in vegetable oil and lined with parchment paper (leave a two inch overhang)

8. wax paper for wrapping the candies

9. a candy thermometer

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First, I brought the cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup to boil in a large pot, stirring until the sugar dissolves. I used my pasta pot- it seemed too big for the ingredients at first but it proved to be a good move as the mixture boiled up a lot.

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Once the mixture boiled, I reduced the heat to medium high and kept an eye on the thermometer.The temperature for chewy caramels is 248 degrees, exactly; if the mixture is allowed to get hotter, it will lead to hard candies. Martha says that it should take around 15 minutes to reach this temperature, but for me it took more like 20-25 minutes. As it got closer to the correct temp, the mixture started to turn a lovely golden caramel color. I was starting to feel nervous since it seemed to be taking too long to reach 240, but my patience was rewarded with the perfect consistency.

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As soon as the mixture reached 240 degrees, I removed it from from the hot burner and stirred in the salt and vanilla. It was helpful to have these ingredients pre-measured and ready to go on my over-the-sink cutting board. Then I poured the entire batch into my prepared baking sheet. The pot was still hot and it got really heavy holding it in one hand while  using my other hand to scrape out remaining caramel.

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Patience! The next step is to wait 8 to 24 hours. I waited 24. The overhanging parchment paper was great to lift the caramel out of the baking sheet and transfer it to a cutting board. I then cut the caramel into small, rectangular pieces. I was anticipating a sticky mess, but this all went fairly smoothly. The hardest (well, most time consuming part) was individually wrapping each caramel in small squares of wax paper. Despite my careful study of my magazine, it was hard to tell Martha’s wrapping technique. With a bit of trial and error, I settled on a method – fold in the paper on the long sides first (they will stick to the caramel) and then fold in the wax paper on the short sides (these won’t stick as well as first, but I held my finger on each side for a few seconds, melting the caramel into the paper a bit). This recipe made over 100 pieces of candy so this was kind of a painstaking process. In fact, I still have half a batch to wrap tomorrow.

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6 Responses to “Salted Caramel Candies!”

  1. Marilyn Matern December 11, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    Will you share the recipe?

    • shannzav December 11, 2012 at 2:49 am #

      working on it. still learning how to use wordpress.

  2. Katie December 31, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    These were soooo yummy!

    • shannzav January 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Thanks, Katie. Glad we were able to send you home with some.

  3. Karen January 2, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    I’m so impressed! Any pictures of the candies wrapped? I started making Christmas cookies this year and gave up halfway through when I realized how much work they are. Maybe your patience will rub off…

    • shannzav January 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

      Thanks, Karen! Unfortunately no photos of the finished product. I basically wrapped them like a present – folded the paper on the long sides in first (it sticks to the caramel if you hold your finger on it for a bit), then folded in the sides. I’m sure your cookies were good – you are a good cook.

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