Regardless of the name of this blog implying candy making or kitchen fare, I named it Chocolate Cream Centers because I know of nobody who bites into a chocolate and finding a chocolate creme center is disappointed. But this website is not generally geared to food but to subjects that tantalize the mind and imagination.
But today I want to share a CANDY recipe. Every year at Thanksgiving, I like to try a new recipe. This year, I wanted to make caramel. I had never attempted it, mainly because I never have much heavy cream on hand.
But this recipe uses just a few simple ingredients and is some of the very best I’ve ever had. I pulled the recipe off Pintrest and tweaked it.
Start by greasing either a 9×13 pan or a bigger one for thinner caramels. I use an 11×16 pan.
I toast about 2 cups of almonds and about a cup of shredded coconut. I sprinkle the almonds on one end of the pan (touching each other) and hold the toasted coconut until after the candy is done because the liquid caramel pushes the coconut around. The almonds stay put. I leave the middle of pan plain.
Now you’re ready for a heavy, 4 quart pot. Cast iron is fantastic but if not, my Club brand pot, (cast aluminum) (thank you thrift store) is also ideal.
Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, NOT touching the bottom of the pan.
Open 2 cans ((14 oz) of evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed milk) and keep handy, but don’t add.
Into the pot goes:
2 sticks (1 cup) of salted butter
4 cups of white granulated sugar
2 cups of light corn syrup.
Bring the mixture to a bubbly boil over medium high heat, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. (I use a metal spatula to scrape the bottom better)
the 2 cans evaporated milk, you opened earlier, about 1 tablespoon at a time. The trick is to make sure that the candy doesn’t stop bubbling because the milk is added too fast. So it takes about 12 minutes to add all the milk from both cans.
Don’t stop stirring!
At this stage, I usually turn down the heat to medium on my turbo burner.
Once all the milk has been added, it usually takes about 10 more minutes for the caramel to reach 238 degrees. (firm ball if you’re testing by dropping a little into cold water) Once it reaches 238 degrees, turn off the heat and stir for another minute.
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla
Pour the hot caramel into the pan, (cover the nuts first if you’re using them). On the other end of the pan, press the toasted coconut into the top of the caramel until it’s all stuck down.
For salted caramels, sprinkle lightly with sea salt at this stage. (Sea salt is less salty tasting than table salt. You get the salty accent without it overpowering the other flavors.)
Let cool. (Fridge is fine)
If you got it exactly to 238 degrees, the candy will be firm enough to cut with kitchen shears and still chewy/soft enough to stretch of you pull it. I cut it into about 150 pieces.
If you want to coat some of them in chocolate, I use about 1 cup chocolate dipping wafers (or candy coat) and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips,(You can use all chocolate chips, but they won’t look as pretty once they’re set. They tend to get a gray bloom that doesn’t affect the taste) melted in the microwave for a minute, stirred, melted another minute and stirred again until smooth. It’s warm but not hot. I drop the caramel piece in, roll it around a little and fish them out with clean fingers. Sorry about the out of focus picture. Jeff was getting a little too excited about the mass of heavenly treats and didn’t pay attention to his cameraman duties.
I let them set up on parchment paper/wax paper or a greased cookie sheet if you don’t have the wax/parchment. They freeze well, and I think it’s a good idea. They’re too tempting otherwise.
These are gift-quality wonderful with or without the chocolate coating and with or without the add ins.