Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Candy Woman Can

...Cuz' she mixes it with love and makes the world taste good.

This time of year, the cold weather and holidays often remind me of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — both movies and the book. Gotta love 'em!

These days, what's my latest adventure? Making candy!

I've been storing miscellaneous recipes for caramel for a long time and this week, I decided to finally try it. Turns out, making your own caramel is simple, satisfying and only time consuming in the final wrapping stage, at which point I set up a candy wrapping station in front of my TV.

These caramels are sweet and chewy and came together in just over an hour. I have about 100 pieces of caramel sitting in my kitchen right now and I already can't wait to make another batch — Next time I'm adding whiskey! :)

Sea Salted Caramels (recipe from Cannella Vita):
Makes about 100 bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
  • coarse sea salt
  • Combine sugar, honey, and vanilla extract in a large non-reactive pot, simmer over a medium flame until the sugar and honey melt, and cook until caramelized (it will darken in color as well)
  • In a separate pot, bring cream to a simmer and then turn off the flame
  • When the sugar reaches a color you like, mix in butter in small pieces until well combined
  • Add warmed cream SLOWLY — as it hits the sugar mixture, it boils up rather violently
  • Let the mixture cook until it reaches 250 degrees F, just before it hits the "hard ball" stage of candy making
  • Pour the hot caramel onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment and let cool about ten minutes before sprinkling with coarse sea salt
  • Continue to let caramel come to room temperature, and then cut into small squares, roll, and wrap in packets of parchment or waxed paper.

Love that glossy sheen... And you can see my kitchen in the reflection!

Happy Baking and Candy Making!

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