When my niece Isabel was turning ten years old, she had only one gift she wanted from me: A giant glob of caramel candy. She didnt want it cut up or wrapped or anything, she just wanted to eat a solid mass of sugars, fats and general refined unhealthyness to celebrate her ten years of life. And being the understanding Auntie that I am, I made it for her! My neice is a very sweet little girl, but my sister later told me that she had to hide the huge caramel blob away during the day as Isabel became a sugar-crazed-caramel-monster who was willing to lie/cheat/steal in order to get her fix. She had even been caught petting it on occasion (I think this was just to make it germy so she didn’t have to share it with her sister). It transformed her, that unnaturally large chunk of caramel candy, and with good reason! But you will have to make it for yourself to see what dark powers it holds…muahahaa-HAhahaa-muaha. And I expect a full report.
Why I love Caramel Candy:
1. It’s chewy! Its twisty! It sticks to your teeth! You can suck on it, gobble it or swallow it whole! AND it only messes up ONE pot when you are making it!
2. If you make it and share it, you are guaranteed to make many friends! Sure, the friendship might be conditional or superficially based on your caramel production, but some of us should really just take whatever friends we can get >:) <- ooh that was nasty, I totally had people in mind when I wrote it too… double >:)
3. Food gift, food gift, food gift.
4. In this format we aren’t dumbing it down, diluting it, mixing it into anything, or having it as an addition to something else. It’s 100% about the caramel alone, we are just eeeeeeaating it in all its glory!
1.5 cups white sugar
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
(Did you just gain 5 lbs from reading the ingredients?!? Yeeeaaaah baby!)
How I do it: Get all the ingredients except the vanilla into a big pot. Bigger then you would expect! I use the one I use for soup, its 7.6 litres and its perfect. Put it on the stove and set the temp to somewhere between medium and high. Have your candy thermometer nearby and start stirring…
Honestly, omg. I timed it this last time I made it, I stirred for 45 mins. I kept on getting visuals of my arm popping off and landing in the caramel, thats how much you have to stir. What you are waiting for is the thermometer to register 250 degrees. As the caramel cooks, the water boils out which is what makes all those liquidy things you added turn into a soft but solid mass after its been cooled. But the process of getting the water out takes FOR-EV-ER. And remember, you are absolutely forbidden to stop stirring for any reason at all! It is also going to foam up and triple in size during this water-relieving process, which is why we do the big pot.
**Just a quick note about the thermometer: don’t be a weeny and decide you are not going to make this because kitchen gadgets intimidate you! The thermometer is your friend, see?
All you need to do is stick it in the pot every now and then and see what number it tells you! Thats all! And honestly, with a recipe like this, if it goes a degree or two above or below its not gonna ruin the batch. I’ve read some pretty scary info on caramel, like dropping the temp based on how many feet above sea level you are or the humidity of the day and such. If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me tell you now that things aren’t really that specific around here (I’m not the self proclaimed impostor pastry chef for nothing). So be the thermometer’s friend!
Its gonna get to 245 degrees pretty fast and then maddeningly crawl those last five degrees but just keep on checking every couple of minutes. Once it hits 250 get it off the heat, stir in your vanilla and consider your options:
Option #1: Pour the caramel into a parchment lined and lightly sprayed cookie sheet. When it cools you can cut it and wrap it in wax paper like this!
I love the great many variety of things you can get from one batch of this caramel, but if it ends up that you eat a good portion of it right from the pot with a spoon, I won’t judge you (actually, that is secret option #4). Enjoy your week with your new BFF the candy thermometer and I will see you back here next Thursday for week 4 in the Caramel series!