Patty just made caramels and licked the spatula, the candy thermometer, the pot and the wooden spoon...somedays I am really happy not to have kids.
Yes, I'm pretending this is Facebook and giving you my status. The caramels are cooling off in the fridge but based on what I was tasting off of various kitchen items earlier, they are really good. I used a recipe from Ina Garten (thanks, Jenn) for fleur de sel caramels and just substituted a couple of pinches of kosher salt in place of the "hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom" (thanks, Wikipedia). I would like to try making the caramels with the fleur de sel sometime though.
So, let's see...I've made marshmallows, English toffee and now caramel candies. I think peanut brittle is next on the list. Or butterscotch candies. Or maybe pralines. In case you were wondering what the differences were (and so was I so I had to Google it), it depends on the temperature the syrup, that will eventually become your candy, must reach when you're cooking it. For example, if you're making butterscotch, the boiling syrup is cooked to the soft-crack (270°-290°) stage, but for toffee, it's cooked longer and until it hits the hard-crack stage 300°-310°).
And, before you guys send the Diabetes Police to come and arrest me, yes, I admit I am eating this stuff (in moderation), but I really am interested in the whole experience of making it from scratch. I'll probably try pasta, (homemade ravioli is on my to-do list), once I work through all the candy recipes.
Here's my big slab o' caramel when it came out of the baking dish. Lining the pan with parchment paper made it super easy to remove it.
I did not finish the caramels the way you're supposed to once they've cooled. I just cut my slab into one inch wide strips and then cut the strips into bite-size pieces. I also did not wrap them up individually the way Ina does for her pals in the Hamptons. I placed them in a single layer on some wax paper and then stacked the layers in the fridge. They should be fine that way.
And, of course I had to taste
one several. I even ate the one I knocked on to the floor as I was cutting them. (Three second rule!) These caramels are SO GOOD! Chewy, gooey and buttery. If you're a caramel fiend like I am, you must make them.
That's a horrible picture but my camera is about to die so it will have to do.