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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Espresso caramels

So I kinda became obsessed with caramels since I made them last week.  Mine came out pretty awesomely last time given the fact that I didn't have enough corn syrup and had to adjust everything else by decreasing by 20%, which was doable because I'm kinda a math nerd.  But they came out a little thinner than I had hoped, because of the adjustment, and while I knew I should've used a smaller pan, I didn't actually use the smaller pan. 

So I had in my head that I needed to make caramels again with the proper amounts of ingredients.  I debated making the plain, classic ones again because they were so delicious (but do you really want to see me post the same recipe twice, less than a week apart?!).  Then I thought about the sesame ginger ones (yum!) that I had seen on the same website, but I didn't have any candied ginger (and the frigid NYC temperatures and remaining snow on the ground made going outside to buy candied ginger just because seem, well, kinda silly).  I settled on the espresso orange caramels also featured on the same website, but of course I had to adjust them just a little and leave out the candied orange because, well, I think the combination of orange and espresso sounds kinda gross.  And I don't generally like orange flavored things, anyway.

And you know what happened when I went looking for the sugar that I bought at the store the other day in preparation of making some more caramels?  I found the cream that I bought that same day.  Yup, it had been sitting out literally for days.  So then I had to toss that (obviously!), and use the cream I had at home, since I already voiced how silly going out in this weather would be, and had to half the recipe....which, in all honesty, was easier than making 80% of the recipe like I did last time.

Espresso Caramels
Adapted from Ms. Martha Stewart

Ingredients (adjusted due to the amount of usable cream I had here):

Vegetable oil, for baking sheet (or Pam, because I used Pam -- let's face it, it's just easier sometimes)     
1 cup heavy cream
1 cups sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 + 1/8 (5/8 total) cups light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 cup instant espresso powder
Lightly brush bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 inch rimmed pan with oil.  Or use Pam, like I did.
Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides.
Lightly brush parchment with oil.
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.  You NEED to be VERY quick and take it off at exactly 248 degrees and add the rest of the ingredients.  I took mine off of the heat and moved it and by the time I added the rest of the ingredients, the temp had crept up to 250-251.  When I went to check on the caramels an hour and a half later, they were pretty hard -- I think it's because the caramels were over-heated.
Immediately remove caramel from heat, and stir in salt, vanilla, and espresso power.
Pour caramel into/onto lined 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.

As I stated above, mine got a little too hot, and when I went to check on them an hour and a half later, the caramels were already really hard.  I went to cut them and they kinda broke as I cut them, so they're oddly misshapen.  BUT...they're super flavorful, and have a little crunch to them (translation: not chewy).  I still advise this recipe but be really quick about removing them off the head and adding the rest of the ingredients.  It helps if the burner behind or next to the pot is open for easy access....I had to move mine to the other side of the kitchen, and that probably allowed the caramels to cook even more than they should've.

I guess you'll have to stay tuned for another caramel recipe in the near future, just working on perfecting my caramel skills ;-)

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