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Monday, December 30, 2013

Classic caramels

Here I go, breaking promises to myself again.  When I posted the Sriracha Chex Mix the other day, I mentioned that the day before I had promised myself I wouldn't make anything between Christmas and New Years (except for the dessert I'm making for NYE).  On Christmas Day, I made some cookies, and then assembled a tray of goodies for my doormen, including those cookies.

I delivered the goodies and that's when I promised myself that I wasn't going to make anything again until I made my New Years treats (I've been working on the recipe, and I hope they turn out awesome -- so stay tuned for those!). 

That promise lasted all of 1 day, because the next night I came home from work and made the Sriracha Chex Mix.  Again, after the Chex Mix, I promised myself I that although I strayed from the promise once, the next thing I made would be those treats for NYE.  That lasted 3 more days, when sick and with a fever, I decided that I needed to make caramels.  Because clearly that's what one should be doing after they wake up from their fever-induced nap, pop a few Advil, and have some soup for dinner to soothe a very sore throat.  Right? 

But regardless of my slightly poor judgment on what to do with my afternoon after I woke up from that fever-induced nap, I got to christen my new (digital) candy thermometer and I (successfully) made caramels.  I made them a while ago with less than impressive results (they didn't hold their shape, which was particularly difficult when it came to dipping them in chocolate). 

I ended up running out of corn syrup (I only had 1 cup, not 1 and 1/4 cups, so I had to alter all of the other ingredients), so although I debated using a smaller pan, I stuck with the larger 9 x 13 inch pain, and my caramels were a little thinner.  Also, it didn't help that my mixture boiled over, so I lost even more.  So use a big pot.  A way bigger pot than you think you'll need, because you'll actually need it.

Classic Caramels
From none other than Ms. Martha Stewart


Vegetable oil, for baking sheet
2 cups heavy cream
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Wax paper or cellophane.  You'll need to cut three-inch square pieces of waxed paper or cellophane in which to wrap the caramels.
Lightly brush bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with oil. I used Pam because I was lazy.  Not even going to play the sick card for that one.  Pam was just way easier.
Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides. 
Lightly brush parchment with oil.  Again, I used Pam.

Bring cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Reduce heat to medium-high. 
Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel reaches 248 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes.

Immediately remove caramel from heat, and stir in salt and vanilla.
Pour caramel onto baking sheet, and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Lifting by parchment overhang, transfer caramel to a large cutting board.
Cut into 3/4-by-1 1/4-inch pieces; wrap each piece in waxed paper or cellophane.

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