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Old 02-15-2005, 01:41 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
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Help! my candy isnt setting!

hi everyone =) im new to this forum so im not sure if im suppose to post this here but it seemed like the best place..

okay so my situation is that on sunday night (feb 13th) i tried to make these chocolate carmel pecans and i did everything according to the recipe except i couldnt get the mixture for the carmel to get up to 255 degrees i could only get it up to around 230.
the mixture kept almost bubbling over so i couldnt raise the heat anymore and i felt like i was leaving it on the heat too long trying to get the temperature off so i put it in a pan and try to let it set

however it has now been 24 hours (recipe said it should take a little over an hour) and the carmel still has not set
im guessing that it was because i couldnt get it to the right temperature but what im asking is if...theres anyway i can get the mixture to set! i dont want to waste all those ingredients for nothing =(

any help is greatly appreciated! thanks so much =)


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Old 02-15-2005, 12:06 PM   #2
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Hi draconess--welcome to DC!

If Audeo, a member expert in candy and chocolate, stops by, I'm sure she'll have better advice than I do, but my guess would be that you may have a lost batch on your hands. Since the temperature has fluctuated so much at this point, I don't think you could bring it back up to the temp you need and be able to get a product with the texture and taste you'd expect. Plus, not knowing how you've stored the ingredients since you mixed them on Sunday, I'd be worried about any little critters that may have grown in there since.

I think you hit the nail on the head that you need a larger pot so you can get the contents up to the proper temp.
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Old 02-15-2005, 09:00 PM   #3
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Hi Diana - draconess! Welcome to the gang!!!

I agree with PA Baker that Audeo is probably the best to help you on this. I know she was working some long hours so it might be a day or two before she can answer. I just sent her an email to let her know about your problem so she would be sure to check in here.

From your description it will never set - you made chocolate syrup with pecans.

You "might" be able to salvage it - or turn it into something else like a chocolate caramel pecan pie. Don't know - we need Audeo for help here. It would also help a lot if you would post your recipe - helps to know your ingredients and how you combined them.

I would take your goop and put it in a covered container in the 'fridge for now - and see what Audeo can make of it.

One thing I think I can say with some assurance is ... if the pot is boiling that hard you need to turn the heat DOWN, not turn it up! Also, as PA Baker suggested, use a pot with no less than twice the capacity of what you are putting into it - 3-4 times wouldn't be bad.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 02-16-2005, 12:54 AM   #4
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hey again everyone =)
thanks for the tips so far
im pretty sure the batch is no good now especially with the thought of 'little critters' growing in it now :( (i dont want anyone getting food poisoning!)
but everything is a learning experience right?
anywho heres the recipe

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup butter
2 cups evaporated milk, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups pecan halves
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Combine the sugars, syrup, butter and 1 cup of the evaporated milk, and bring to a boil. Add the other cup of evaporated milk slowly, stirring constantly, and cook until it reaches 255 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add the vanilla and pecans and mix well. Pour into a 9 by 11-inch greased pan and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature, cut into squares then dip in chocolate. If you'd like to make a turtle, spoon dollops of the caramel pecan mixture onto a greased sheet pan, with 5 pecans in each mound (4 legs and head). Refrigerate to set, then dip in chocolate.
unfortuneately i have to leave tomorrow morning and wont be getting back until monday...i dont think the candy's life can last that long :(
ah well hopefully next time it'll work! thanks again everyone

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Old 02-16-2005, 01:46 AM   #5
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The recipe helps a lot!

I think you might be able to save this - assuming you didn't add the chocolate to it. It might be a little grainey - but you might be able to make it work.

Since it was heated to 230-F, and it will be heated to 255-F - I wouldn't worry about any "little critters" .... the only thing you might now have to worry about is mold .... but that's another story. If you're only going to be gone for a week - we can prevent that.

Place your goop in a covered container, press some plastic wrap directly down on the surface, and let us know when you get home and we''ll try to help you salvage it.

What do you think Audeo?
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:17 AM   #6
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Yikes... Just let the poor thing rest in piece, in the garbage. Nobody likes to waste ingredients, but surely you don't want to serve that to people! You already know what you did wrong; you didn't get it to the correct temperature. Clearly you need either a bigger pot (to avoid it spilling over), to turn the temperature higher, or both.
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:51 PM   #7
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Diana, leave the caramel in the fridge. When you get back, put it in a larger pot, cook it to 255, add some more vanilla, chill it, and it will be just as fantastic as it would have been on Sunday night. You have my word on it.

Sugar is a natural preservative. It ties up water so that critters can't survive. 3 cups of sugar will preserve 2 cups of evaporated milk for quite some time. The fact that you brought the caramel to 230 and evaporated some moisture only extends it's life even further. Your 'sauce' could survive in the fridge completely unimpaired for months. I'm sure of it.

Caramels are very easygoing when it comes to reheating. You can heat them and then chill them over and over again a thousand times and they'll be none worse for the wear. The pecans might get a little toasted being brought to 255, but I think they'll be fine.

I really hope you didn't throw this away. It would be such terrible waste of a perfectly good caramel.
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