Caramels have long been my sweet tooth downfall. To make matters worse, my son happens to have a friend, Elliott, who taught me how to make them! So, needless to say – there is always a “homemade” stash in my pantry.
And how do caramels help a “cause” other than my sweet tooth you might ask?
In the spirit of sharing what I learned, I offered up a “caramel making” class for the “Go Red” Luncheon – an event sponsored by our local American Heart Association designed to bring awareness to women’s heart health.
Here is the class - a team of young professionals from Catapult RDM - all smiles anticipating those delicious caramels....and I love that they are all wearing red! (they were quite thrilled their supervisor Melissa treated them to this team building experience)
Caramel making is all about the love you put in to it. Love, because it will take a measure of your time – but with such satisfying results! I have found that it’s fun to do it with a small gathering of friends, because then you can share the love of stirring the pot (in a positive way!)
I must add, that the only thing heart healthy about a salted caramel is complete moderation on intake!!! Unless you take in to account that it’s therapeutic to the “emotional heart” to spend time with friends over a labor of love for good things to eat!
Pouring the Caramel
Cutting the Caramel
Wrapping the Caramel
The happy new "caramel chefs". They did a great job! Thank you ladies for a fun time and a great cause!
I did make sure during class that I served my new friends a heart healthy bowl of Roasted Chicken Vegetable Soup made with My Brother's Salsa!
Oh, and if you're wanting to make something special for a special someone on Valentine's Day - handcrafted Salted Caramels are the perfect gift!
from my table to yours,
(yield approx. 15 dozen bite size pieces– cooking time approx. 1.5 hours)
1 qt. heavy cream
1 lb. butter (unsalted)
1 lb. brown sugar (light or dark)
2 1/3 cup white cane sugar
1 pt. (16 oz.) dark corn syrup
½ tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. good quality vanilla
flaky sea salt
Line a large rimmed baking sheet (18x13) with pan lining paper (this is a foil lined parchment paper) foil side down. Be sure to wrap it up the sides. You will be pouring the finished caramel mixture into this pan and you want to have it ready.
In a large* heavy cooking pot, mix sugars, corn syrup, butter and half of the cream. Let come to a boil over medium/high heat – stirring constantly. As it just reaches a boil, add the rest of the cream. Place the candy thermometer so that it dips down into the mixture. Continue stirring carefully (you don’t want to cause splashing as the caramel is very hot!). The temperature needs to reach 240*, known as soft ball stage. This will take up to an hour to reach. You can test by placing a spoonful into a cup of water. If you are able to roll it into a soft ball, it is ready to remove from the heat. Add salt and vanilla, stir and remove from heat. Pour immediately into the prepared baking sheet. Let cool. (After it begins to “set” you can place it into the refrigerator so that it hardens enough to cut it. (If you forget it, just remove and let stand at room temp for about 15 min. and it will be ready to cut)** Remove from pan and place on large cutting board to cut into bite size pieces. Sprinkle lightly with the sea salt. Wrap individually in cellophane or wax paper and store in airtight container. More than delicious!
*Use a tall pot, the caramel mixture will “bubble up “ as it boils.
**Once it has cooled and begun to “set” you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to slice and wrap individually.
I sometimes change it up by adding a complimentary flavor profile such as Grand Mariner in place of vanilla or crumbled bacon in place of sea salt.