If you were one of the lucky folks who snagged a ticket to The Coast’s inaugural Dough Ball (basically a giant bake sale, where you pay admission and get to try all the sweet samples!), you likely had quite the sugar high on Saturday afternoon.
While I wasn’t able to attend (I’m simultaneously sad and grateful that I missed out, because I’m fairly certain my pants would be feeling a bit snugger this morning), I was able to send along a treat for attendees to try out.
My peeps at Halifax Food Bloggers were invited to host a table at Dough Ball, and a few of us sent our sweet concoctions along to be sampled by the crowds (I saw photos of the event and our table on Twitter, and it looked AMAZING).
I decided to try my hand at making homemade caramels. A coworker of mine makes them every Christmas, and while I was slightly intimidated to try and make them (hers are delicious, and frankly, making caramel just seemed like a messy proposition), it was surprisingly simple.
I used a recipe/great step-by-step instructions I found on The Kitchn. You don’t really need any special equipment, aside from a candy thermometer, which I got at Bulk Barn for $4.
The real trick to making lovely caramels is making sure you get the right texture. And that’s pretty subjective (I don’t like hard, uber-chewy caramels. Soft, smooth and creamy is how I prefer mine!) To control the softness of your caramels, you need to control the amount of dairy you add in (more dairy = softer, creamier caramels) AND bring your caramels to a lower temperature. If you’re going to try your hand at making caramels, I really do recommend you read The Kitchn post I mentioned earlier to get all the details!
I followed their recipe/directions, and was very pleased with how my two versions of caramels turned out. I made sea salt and peppermint caramels:
Wrap in wax paper, twist on both ends, and package in mason jars, and behold:
Anyhow, here’s what you’ll need if you’re going to try this at home:
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or, if you’re making mint caramels, substitute with mint extract)
- Square baking dish
- Parchment paper
- 2-quart saucepan
- 4-quart saucepan (make sure you use a big pot!)
- Candy thermometer
- Wax paper
Have fun, and try not to eat too many! (you’ll end up with a bellyache, and maybe even a cavity or two!)