Storage of Fleur de Sel Caramels
I just this evening made my very first batch of caramels - I used the Epicurious version.
I couldn't wait the two hours to let them cool - they're absolutely wonderful, maybe a bit soft, but that could be because I dug in a bit early or my candy thermometer only increases by 5, so I guessed a bit at when to take them off.
But I'm wondering about how to keep them fresh as long as possible. All the recipes I've seen said to wrap each one in waxed paper or glassine. Is that necessary? It's probably a requirement for transporting them, but can I just leave them in the pan if I don't intend to take them out anywhere?
Also, can I refrigerate them, and will that extend the shelf life? Given that there's whipping cream and butter, I'm guessing they should be refrigerated.
One last thing, do they always chrystallize, and if so, how long before that happens.
Thanks for any advice you can share with this newbie caramel maker.
Fleur de sel really WAS worth the price!!!
There is enough sugar in most candy to act as a preservative and create an inhospitable environment to bacteria/microbes that you don't need to worry about the presence of cream and butter in your caramels. Sugar concentration and available water are the two main factors in shelf life of candy. Meaning, something firm like a chewy caramel will keep at room temp much longer than a runny caramel sauce, same with a chocolate ganache with more chocolate (stiffer, less water activity).
"wrap each one in waxed paper or glassine. Is that necessary?"
Yes, it's to prevent the caramel killer humdity from getting to them. Sugar is hygroscopic and absorbs moisture readily. Now, if you're going to serve them tomorrow and assume they'll all be eaten, then don't bother wrapping them. If you want to keep them around for awhile, then wrap. Don't refrigerate them, that just exposes the caramels to humidity. They should be stored in a cool dark dry place in a tight lidded tin or box. Caramels can be stored for about two weeks at room temp, after that they can be frozen, tightly wrapped, if you still have any around.
They don't always crystallize. Hopefully yours will not; if they are going to go that route, it'll start to happen in a few days. It may be due to humidty or that you didn't get every grain of sugar dissolved, which starts a chain reaction to recrystallize. They'll become softer and grainy. The fact that you guessed a bit when to pull the caramel may mean that maybe you didn't get the sugar up to the proper temperature, but frim ball temperature is a range anyway, between 245° and 250° with a sugar concentration of 87%.
Good luck, hope they work out. If not, don't get discouraged, caramels can be fickle.
Thanks for all that incredibly helpful information.
I had already wrapped, tinned and refrigerated them, but took them out first thing this morning, so I hope I haved ruined them already. (I might have to eat them all if I did!)
I'm going to bring them to a dinner tomorrow night, so as long as they stay good until then, I'll be a happy camper.
Isn't it great when a new recipe works out!!!!!