1. Testing . . . Caramels

    April 9, 2014 by alex

    The winner last week was chocolate caramels with sea salt. I tried one batch of the chocolate caramels with sea salt and my results weren’t too pretty; a thin layer of butter on top of the batch and a slightly grainy texture. That was most likely due to the sugar not fully dissolving. I decided to go back to the drawing board and looked for new recipes and tips on making the perfect caramels. My dad introduced me to David Lebovitz’s baking blog. This man has traveled the world and perfected his craft. He had a recipe and tips for “making the perfect caramels”. The recipe was completely different to the prior one so I decided to try it. I’ve made caramel sauces before and making caramels is a little bit more complicated. You need to make sure that you don’t overstir the sugar so that it won’t crystallize. The temperature that the burner is at is crucial to making caramels. Don’t turn the knob up just because you think it will take less time; you’re actually burning the sugar and overcooking it. I made two batches today. I added some ginger to the first batch and cooked the caramel to 260F. The second batch is just the basic recipe without any additions cooked to 255F. The second batch came out just the way I like it, on the lighter side. The recipe will be posted soon. Enjoy and let me know what you think. These are pretty hard caramels and I’ll be trying some softer caramels with chocolate soon. I used a Polder candy thermometer while cooking.

    Check out this video of the bubbling caramel.

    (adapted from davidlebovitz.com)

    The Caramel:

    3/4 cup heavy cream
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/2 light corn syrup
    1 cup sugar
    (1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, for the first batch)

    Directions:

    Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil and then spray the foil with canola oil spray.
    Bring two tablespoons of butter, heavy cream, and vanilla to a boil in a small saucepan.
    When it comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and put a plate onto of the pot to keep the mixture warm.
    In a medium sauce pan, preferably one with a heavy bottom, combine the sugar and corn syrup.
    Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pan.
    Turn the heat to medium-low and stir the mixture until it’s smooth.
    Once the sugar is dissolved, stop mixing.
    Don’t overmix the sugar because then it will crystallize.
    Cook the caramel until it reaches 310F.
    Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the heavy cream mixture.
    Put it back on the heat and cook the caramel until it reaches 260F.
    Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the last two tablespoons of butter.
    Pour the caramel mixture into the pan lined with aluminum foil.
    Wait about ten minutes until you can sprinkle the top of the caramel with salt.
    Let the caramel cool and then peal away the foil.
    Slicing the caramel is the hard part.
    Heat your knife over a burner and then cut the caramel into the shapes that you want.


  2. Pecan Orange Pralines

    March 20, 2013 by alex

    These pralines are a little bit different than the almond pralines I made. I hope you enjoy!
    Recipe coming soon!


  3. Almond Praline

    March 18, 2013 by alex

    One of my dad’s coworkers asked me to make one of his grandmother’s recipes. It is a dark caramel praline with sliced almonds and orange zest. I hope you enjoy!
    I took a little video when I was making the praline. It shows the bubbling sugar.

    The Praline:

    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
    2 cups sugar
    Zest of an orange
    2/3 cup sliced almonds

    Directions:

    Line a baking sheet with Silpat (If you don’t have a Silpat, just butter the baking sheet).
    Combine the water, light corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.
    Do not stir until it changes color.
    Cook the sugar until it is a light amber color.
    Remove from the heat when the caramel reaches a couple of shades lighter than the desired color.
    Stir the sliced almonds and orange zest into the caramel.
    Pour it onto the baking sheet.
    Let it cool.
    Break the praline into the pieces.