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Old 02-21-2014, 01:08 PM   #1
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Caramel help

Hi all! I love to cook, but this has been my first attempt at candy. I used to love watching my Mom make all kinds of chocoalte, etc. Anyway, someone had some Sea Salt Caramels at work, and when I couldn't find them to purchase, I figured, why not make my own? I found this recipe:

Sea Salt Caramels Recipe

I followed the directions, or so I thought, and poured the caramel into a pan to cool over night. This morning, I found that the "caramel" was still "syrupy", with a sort of skin on top. Looking back at my cooking of it, and some rudimentary internet searching today, I think maybe I didn't cook it long enough. The flavor is good, but a little "weak", and it could be more "caramelly", if that makes any sense. It's also very light in color, which makes me think i could have cooked it longer. So, I am wondering if this is salvagable, whether through cooking it again, or adding something to it. I think I was just watching for the temperature, and once it reached that took it off the heat. I may have heated the mixture too quickly also. The recipe has you add the butter, salt, and vanilla after removing it from the heat, and that makes me think it can't be cooked anymore? I really don't know what I'm doing, so if anyone has any experience with this, your help would be appreciated. If we get that sorted out, I'll rpobably be back asking for soultions to the chocolate melting/tempering I'll have to do afterwords!

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Old 02-21-2014, 01:40 PM   #2
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Welcome to DC! I think you're right, it didn't cook long enough or get a chance to caramelize. Maybe experiment and put some back on the stove and cook again. A candy thermometer would be a good idea. And if it doesn't work, you could use the rest as a sauce on ice cream!
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dawgluver View Post
Welcome to DC! I think you're right, it didn't cook long enough or get a chance to caramelize. Maybe experiment and put some back on the stove and cook again. A candy thermometer would be a good idea. And if it doesn't work, you could use the rest as a sauce on ice cream!
Thanks! I think I'll pick up a candy thermometer. I was using a long one from a turkey fryer.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:00 PM   #4
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Ditto here. Does sound like you didn't cook it long enough. It may have looked dark enough in the pan, but lighter when you added the butter. A candy thermometer is your best buy. Then you can even expand and start making perfect fudge. Just let me know when you do, so I can be at your door.

And welcome to DC. A fun and informative place to be.
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Old 02-21-2014, 05:51 PM   #5
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Ditto here. Does sound like you didn't cook it long enough. It may have looked dark enough in the pan, but lighter when you added the butter. A candy thermometer is your best buy. Then you can even expand and start making perfect fudge. Just let me know when you do, so I can be at your door.

And welcome to DC. A fun and informative place to be.
Thanks Addie!
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:45 PM   #6
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Yep .. agree with the others on the cook time.

Here is the recipe I use and I always have great success with it.

Salted Caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk.
finishing salt or sea salt

Combine all the ingredients in saucepan

Bring to a boil on medium high.

Cook 6 minutes on med. high heat, stirring every minute.

Temp on the candy thermometer should read about 236.

Pour into lightly buttered glass baking dish.

Sprinkle with your finishing salt or sea salt.

Cool completely.

Cut, wrap pieces in waxed paper and store in air tight container.

***
These caramels will come out rather stiff.

I prefer softer caramels so I double the recipe (no waste on the condensed milk this way!) but still cook the same. Because the batch is doubled but the cook time is not, they come out softer.

Also ... I put my silpat into the baking dish. The candy won't stick to the silpat and it's much easier than trying to get it to come out on it's own.

If your candy is a bit too soft you can store it in the fridge.

I have browned the butter and it gives the caramels a really nice rich flavor.

Enjoy!!
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Old 02-21-2014, 06:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MrsLMB View Post
Yep .. agree with the others on the cook time.

Here is the recipe I use and I always have great success with it.

Salted Caramels

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk.
finishing salt or sea salt


Combine all the ingredients in saucepan

Bring to a boil on medium high.

Cook 6 minutes on med. high heat, stirring every minute.

Temp on the candy thermometer should read about 236.

Pour into lightly buttered glass baking dish.

Sprinkle with your finishing salt or sea salt.

Cool completely.

Cut, wrap pieces in waxed paper and store in air tight container.

***
These caramels will come out rather stiff.

I prefer softer caramels so I double the recipe (no waste on the condensed milk this way!) but still cook the same. Because the batch is doubled but the cook time is not, they come out softer.

Also ... I put my silpat into the baking dish. The candy won't stick to the silpat and it's much easier than trying to get it to come out on it's own.

If your candy is a bit too soft you can store it in the fridge.

I have browned the butter and it gives the caramels a really nice rich flavor.

Enjoy!!
Thanks, MrsLMB! If I can't salvage my current batch, I will definately try your recipe.
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Old 02-22-2014, 01:19 PM   #8
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Same thing happened to me during the holidays. I did heat everything to the temps mentioned in the recipe, but the caramel never seemed to set up right. I went and looked at another caramel recipe I had used and the temp on the failed caramel was noticeably lower.
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Old 02-22-2014, 03:22 PM   #9
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I should also mention that humidity can really make trouble for candies.

Perhaps that had something to do with the troubles.

A candy thermometer is a must have for candy making.

This little chart might be of assistance:


Thread Stage - begins at 230 degrees F. - Makes a long thread when dropped in cold water.

Soft Ball - 234 degrees F. - Forms a soft ball that doesn't hold its shape. Cream candies, fudge, fondants are done at the soft ball stage.

Firm Ball - 246 degrees F. - This ball will only flatten with pressure. Divinity and Caramels.

Hard Ball - 250 degrees F. - This ball will hold its shape when pressed. Taffy.

Soft Crack - 270 degrees F. - Separates into bendable threads. Toffee and Butterscotch.

Hard Crack - 300 degrees F. - Becomes brittle. Peanut Brittle.
Caramelize - 310 degrees F. - Sugar turns dark.

Candy Making Chart - Temperatures for Making Candy - Candy Making Chart
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