Chewy Caramels

We had a lot of heavy whipping cream left over after Thanksgiving, so I was searching for recipes to see what I can use it for. After some searching, I found various recipes for caramels, and decided that that’s what I’ll use the cream for.

After some more searching, I settled on this recipe.

These were a hit at work, so I decided to make these as Christmas gifts, both for my ex-coworkers and Steven’s coworkers!

This is a relatively easy recipe.  The only trouble I had (all three times) is setting the heat at the right level to get the temperature to rise at the correct rate.

Chewy Caramels (adapted from Vanilla & Lace)
(makes 96 1.5 in x 0.5 in caramels)
2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsps unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Butter & line a 9×9 square cake pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave an overhang on all four sides.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup and salt. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil.
3. Once the mixture boils, keep stirring for an additional minute, making sure that mixture doesn’t boil over.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to boil for 6 more minutes without stirring.
5. Add butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each melts.
6. Allow mixture to boil over medium-low heat until the mixture just hits 250°F (Firm Ball stage) stirring occasionally. This SHOULD take about 30-40 minutes, but due to various stoves, the heat should be adjusted accordingly, but the mixture needs to hit 250°F to set appropriately.
7. Once you’ve hit the right temperature, quickly remove from heat. Stir in the teaspoon of vanilla and pour into your prepared pan, making sure not to scrape the sides of the pan, just let whatever flows out of the saucepan to flow and if it clings, then just leave it.
8. Allow caramel to cool to room temperature on a wire rack (I let mine cool overnight).
9. Using the parchment overhang, remove the cool caramel sheet from the pan and cut into pieces using a sharp buttered knife (I used an unbuttered santouku and it worked).
10. Wrap each piece in waxed paper.

Homemade Marshmallows

Since those snickerdoodles that I wanted to ship was a disaster, I moved on to a completely different recipe…Marshmallows.  I don’t eat marshmallows, but I thought the recipe sounded really fun to make, so I went with it!

I was afraid that this would be difficult because I’ve heard that candy-making is quite difficult.  There’s supposedly only a fine line between when the sugar mixture is done and ready and when the sugar mixture is burning.  Luckily, these were quite easy…given that you have either a candy thermometer or an instant-read thermometer (what I used).

After making these, it was time to package and ship!  I was afraid that these would melt or get smashed in the shipping process, but luckily, per my recipients, they arrived fine and they tasted yummy!!  🙂

They were so good…the toys wanted a bite!

Mr. Tea Cup wanted a closer sniff!!

Homemade Marshmallows (adapted from Alton Brown)

3 Packets Unflavored Gelatin
1/2 Cup Ice Cold Water
1/2 Cup Room Temperature Water
12 oz Sugar
1 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1 Tbsp Canola (or any kind of vegetable) Oil

1. Place cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle gelatin on top. Pop the bowl in its place and have the whisk attachment attached and ready.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup room temperature water, sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes (until it starts to boil). Uncover and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240F, approximately 7 to 8 minutes.
3. Turn the mixer on low speed and slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Whip mixture until it becomes very thick and is lukewarm, approximately 12 minutes. Add vanilla extract and whip for one more minute.
4. While mixture is whipping, Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Using a napkin or paper towel, lightly oil a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with the canola oil (you shouldn’t need the whole tablespoon). Evenly dust the sugar and cornstarch mixture to completely coat the bottom and sides of the pan.
5. When marshmallow mixture is ready, pour it into the prepared pan, using a lightly oiled spatula for spreading evenly into the pan. Dust the top with enough of the sugar and cornstarch mixture to lightly cover. Reserve the rest for later. Cover pan with foil and allow the marshmallows to sit for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
6. Turn the marshmallows out onto a cutting board and cut into 1-inch squares using an oiled knife. Once cut, roll each marshmallow in the remaining sugar and cornstarch mixture, using additional if necessary. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.