Learning to bake fearlessly <3


Ribbons of sweetness
This is my second post on caramel, this time candies. Now that I know I can do it, I’m excited, it’s like a new toy. Caramel ALL THE THINGS! These were also partly for my brother, who’s going off to college this month. *sniffle* He’s all grown up! But he knows to expect regular baked treats from his big sis. (Any suggestions for things that ship well?) Anyway, he loves sweet/salty things, so salted caramels were a no-brainer.

As I was boiling the sugar mixture, I had a moment of panic. “Oh no, it smells like it’s burning!” …uh, duh, Shiro love. Haha. I did cook these a bit darker than the sauce, and it worked out well; I wouldn’t have cooked them one second more or less. I also uh, didn’t have a candy thermometer for the first batch, just a meat thermometer that only goes up to 220. So I winged it (wung it? wang it? how do I words) and cooked it to there, and then about a minute more. The caramels turned out marvelously chewy and flavorful.

You’ll notice I specified a combination of salted (2 tbsp) and unsalted (3tbps) butter on the salted caramel recipe. I used that because that’s what I had on hand, and it turned out really yummy. But I’m sure all unsalted butter would taste just as good.

You’ll want to really line and butter the pan well; I didn’t and paid for it. Also, though it’s tedious, it’s important to wrap these. Otherwise they’ll all stick together and you’ll end up with a mass of caramel instead of neat individual candies.

Once I had cut my teeth on the fairly standard salted caramels, I wanted more. What I really wanted to make was raspberry caramels. But, googling around, there was no recipe for it! So I adjusted the recipe slightly to allow for fresh raspberry puree instead of vanilla extract. And it was soooooooooooooo good, deep caramel with fresh raspberry flavor permeating. It was perfect. I’m so proud!

I’d never worked with vanilla beans before this. It’s wild to see how many seeds they have! What do they do with them all?
Vanilla seed fingers!

Sea salted vanilla bean caramels
From Confessions of a Foodie Bride

1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
1 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

To start with, line a 8 inch by 8 inch pan with parchment paper and butter it lightly.

In a smallish saucepan, combine cream, butter, vanilla extract, seeds, and pod, and sea salt. Heat on the stove over medium high heat til just boiling, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

In a larger, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir together, then heat on the stove on medium high, whisking often, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then keep heating, but do not stir. Swirl the pot gently instead, frequently, until the sugar mixture is a nice golden color.

Remove the vanilla pods from the cream mixture and pour into the sugar mixture. Careful! The mixture will bubble up. Keep heating, whisking frequently, until the mixture is 248 F. Then take it off the heat and pour into the prepared pan. Let it set for half and hour, then sprinkle with sea salt. Allow it to cool completely, then cut into small squares with a buttered knife or pizza cutter and wrap in waxed paper. Enjoy!

Raspberry caramels

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbsp fresh raspberry puree, strained and seedless
1 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

To start with, line a 8 inch by 8 inch pan with parchment paper and butter it lightly.

In a smallish saucepan, combine cream, butter, raspberry puree, vanilla seeds and pod, and sea salt. Heat on the stove over medium high heat til just boiling, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

I love the slight pinkness.

In a larger, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir together, then heat on the stove on medium high, whisking often, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then keep heating, but do not stir. Swirl the pot gently instead, frequently, until the sugar mixture is a nice golden color.

Remove the vanilla pods from the cream mixture and pour into the sugar mixture. Careful! The mixture will bubble up. Keep heating, whisking frequently, until the mixture is 248 F. Then take it off the heat and pour into the prepared pan. Allow it to cool completely, then cut into small squares with a buttered knife or pizza cutter and wrap in waxed paper. Enjoy!

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