Skip to main content

Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels {FLOP}

A few years ago one of my best friends gave me a candy thermometer for Christmas. Seriously, that was one of my favorite presents ever. Ever! And while it's not totally necessary - I've made candies without it - it does make life so much easier. And, regarding the "flop" in the post title, keep reading. Though I used my handy-dandy thermometer correctly, I did not cook to the correct temperature for the ingredients that I used.


The gals at Serendipity Saucy Spreads gave me a wild honey caramel last week when we stopped by their table at the Independent Marketplace's Harvest Festival. I've been dreaming about making caramels since.

Then I found a recipe in Shauna Sever's Pure Vanilla and I thought it was a done deal.

1 C organic heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
12 T organic butter
2 C organic granulated sugar
1/2 C organic dark brown sugar
1 C blue agave nectar
1 T pure vanilla extract
salt for sprinkling

Line a 9"x13" pan with foil and rub it with oil. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream and vanilla bean. Heat until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges of the pan, but make sure that it doesn't boil or scald. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes.

Remove the pod and scrape the vanilla caviar into the cream. Add all of the other ingredients, except, for the salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Drape the candy thermometer into the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer until the temperature reaches 243 degrees F.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let cool until very firm - overnight if possible.

What I didn't read, until too late, was that when you swap agave for corn syrup you have to cook to a higher temperature. "Cook the caramel until it reaches 248 degrees F." Other recipes list the temperature at anywhere from 243 to 350. Huh? I guess I'll have to experiment, but I'm thinking closer to 250 would be better. So, it was on to plan B for these sweets.


Plan A (Original Intent): Turn the slab onto a parchment covered cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces. Wrap in individual pieces of parchment paper.

Plan B (Modification One): Cut into bite-sized piece and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, melt dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler (or in a stainless steel bowl over simmering water). Dip. Well, these totally flopped, too! Tasted delicious, but were all wrong, texture-wise. Those pesky 5 degrees - or more - would make a huge difference. 

Plan C (Hail Mary Modification): Keep in the freezer until ready to eat. This is not quite as glamorous as I had hoped, but it's my flop-fix for now. Of course, I'll make a redemption batch to soothe my battered ego later this weekend.

Comments

  1. Caramel can be so tricky, but it sounds like, despite the need for improvisations, your caramels were still delicious.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Aloo Tiki {Pakistan}

To start off our Pakistani culinary adventure, I started us off with aloo tiki - potato cutlets. I'm always game for tasty street food. I found a couple of different recipes and incorporated those together for this version. Ingredients 6-8 small red potatoes, scrubbed 1 T cumin seeds 1 T fresh chopped parsley 1/2 t ground coriander 1 t minced garlic Procedure Boil the potatoes until they are tender. Drain and let cool. Mash the potatoes. Traditionally they are mashed without their skins. I left the skins on. In a small pan, toast the cumin seeds on high heat until the begin to give off an aroma and begin to darken. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate to keep them from cooking any more. Blend all of the spices into the mashed potatoes, then shape into small patties. If you wet your hands, the potato mixture won't stick to them. Heat a splash of oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Dip each patty into beaten egg and carefully place in the oil. P