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Need help with Chilaxing Caramel

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I did a test run making caramels last week. I used the Joy of Cooking recipe (old school edition). I have a few concerns- first, it did not set up as hard as I would like it to. Once cut, it sort of oozed into flat little clay puddles, which are kinda unappetizing. I cooked it to 245 degrees. Should have gone higher? Next, I used very good butter, good cream, and demara sugar. It has a sort of processed taste, though, so I am guessing that is the dark Karo. Is there any way to remedy this? I do have some sorghum on hand... Finally, I'd like to top them with sea salt. But they are going into cookie tins, and I bet that salt will dissolve into the candy once covered in wax paper. Any ideas?

TIA everyone!

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  1. Does the recipe call for demara sugar? Different sugars have different amounts of moisture and may perform differently. Candy making relies on a very precise set of chemical interactions and ingredient proportions, and to get the right crystalization structure you really have to use the exact ingredients the recipe is formulated for. I have a tried and true recipe for orange glazed walnuts, but when I tried to make it with lemon juice and macadamia nuts, it failed both times!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Rats. It doesn't call for demara, in fact. I had wanted a deeper flavor, and that's why I used it. I weighed it instead of cup measuring because the grind is larger. Still, how can I get this recipe to have a less processed, more complex flavor? Any recipes I should try?

      1. re: julietg

        Is it safe to put in the fridge?

        1. re: julietg

          What are you putting in the fridge and why? It might make your caramels firmer, if that's what you're trying to do, but they'll probaby lose their shape again when they come to room temp. And they might not get really firm anyway -- at least, that was my experience with the failed candy I mentioned above: it got a little firmer, but was still "gooey."

          I'm not sure what you're looking for when you say "less processed" but I have a recipe for caramels made with brown sugar and maple syrup:

          2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
          1.5 cups maple syrup
          2 tablespoons corn syrup (light or dark)
          1/2 cup heavy cream
          1 tablespoon butter

          Combine all the ingredients except the butter in a three-quart pot and cook over medium heat until the mixture reaches 240 degrees, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the butter and keep stirring constantly to prevent scorching until the mixture reaches firm ball stage (246-248 degrees).

          Remove from the heat and pour into a lightly buttered 8-inch pan. Score it into the size pieces you want as it hardens and let it set for 3-4 hours. Remove from pan, cut into pieces, wrap in waxed paper. Makes about 1.5 pounds.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Thanks, Ruth. Especially for the low HFCS amounts. Can I use dark muscavodo bs in this recipe? have so much....Or I could use bakers golden brown...

    2. This is not a classic caramel recipe, but I love it, and I've had great luck with the texture. I substitute pecans for the seeds and mix them in instead of layering them on the bottom.

      http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...