The Christmas candy making continues. I’ve made six or seven candies for this year’s Christmas gifts. As I posted previously, I got all ambitious last year and made a bunch of candy for Craig to take to work. So I was drafted, again this year, to do the same. Of course, I can’t make it all easy on myself and make the same things. Nooooooooo I have to make new stuff (except for the Snowmen).
Along with making chocolate fudge for the first time ever, I decided to make caramels. I have to say, for all the hubbub people make about homemade marshmallows, they don’t even come close to the exquisiteness that is homemade caramels. (And yes, I also made marshmallows this year – so I do have a good solid comparison.)
These caramels aren’t your store bought caramels – to which I am never going back. At first touch, these caramels appear to be like hard candies (and require a good knife and some strength to cut). But once you put it into your mouth, they begin to soften and give up their buttery goodness. Not being one to resist the urge to chew, they then give way to behaving like a caramel should…nice and chewy. (Please see edit below.)
I made half of the batch plain and the other half received a nice sprinkle of sea salt. The crunchy crystals of salt really sets off of the buttery creamy sweetness of the caramel. And because the sea salt crystals are large, they tend to stay around longer to play off the sweet flavors of the caramel.
While I am including both the plain caramels and the sea salt caramels into the gift boxes, you can be sure I’m squirreling away a few for myself.
Just like the sea salt caramels…sometimes the best relationships are made up of opposites. I can vouch, from personal experience, that this can be a brilliant partnership. It takes some work (just because he cares that everything is in its proper place at all times doesn’t mean that you do), but it’s never boring. Like the salt highlights and enhances the sweetness in the caramels, couples that are opposite one another bring out the highlights in one another. His ability to carry out complicated mathematical problems in his head isn’t overshadowed by her ability to put together fashionable ensembles that allow him to look like and adult and not a 3rd grader…they enhance his skill allowing for his mathematical prowess to be recognized as a positive and not that he’s Rain Man.
Makes approximately 100 pieces
- 2 Cups Whipping Cream
- 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
- 2 Cups Light Corn Syrup
- 1/2 Cup Water
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
- Coarse Sea Salt
Line a 12×17 pan with foil. Make sure that the foil is fitted well into the corners and sides. Liberally butter the foil, covering the bottom corners and sides.
In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine whipping cream and evaporated milk. Whisk to thoroughly combine cream and milk. Mixture should become hot, but DO NOT BOIL. Occasionally whisk mixture as long as it is on the heat.
In a heavy 4 quart saucepan (over medium heat) combine corn syrup, water and sugar. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon until sugar is completely dissolved. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and boil for 3 minutes.
Remove the cover and attach candy thermometer to the saucepan. Turn heat up to medium. Continue to gently boil sugar-syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees Farenheit. Do not stir the mixture while you are bringing it up to temperature. Add the butter and hot cream and milk mixture-slowly. Combining these will cause some serious bubbling (don’t panic-it’s fine). The temperature will also drop. Bring the temperature back up to 244 degrees Farenheit. After adding the butter and milk mixture you will need to occasionally stir the mixture. Edit: if you continuously stir the mixture, until it gets to 244 degrees, your caramels will be the soft and chewy kind. Excellent for dipping into chocolate.)
Remove from heat and carefully pour the hot mixture into prepared pan. Do not scrape saucepan. Gently rap pan to remove any air bubbles.
Let pan sit for 10 minutes. Sprinkle caramel mixture with sea salt. Let pan sit undisturbed for 24 hours.
To cut, remove caramels from pan by lifting the foil. Place onto a cutting board. Use a large heavy knife to cut into desired piece size.
Wrap each piece in waxed paper.
Caramels will keep up to one month in a tightly sealed container.
*Once caramels have been cut into pieces, you can drizzle or dunk into chocolate. If you decide to completely cover the caramels with chocolate, do not put the sea salt directly onto the caramels…sprinkle it on top of the chocolate.