Monday, December 22, 2008
Handmade Holiday #10: Sweet Treats III - Salted Chocolate Caramels Return
Everyone's favorite treat from last year made a reappearance this year, in a full-batch instead of a half-batch. That link will take you to last year's incarnation, including a link to the original epicurious recipe and my changes.
This year's batch didn't come together quite so smoothly, but the recipe is even better than I thought: having failed to firm up properly last night, I put the caramel-goop BACK INTO THE PAN this morning and cooked them AGAIN. And now they're firm, chewy, even better than last year's, which were just a little stiff to bite into. Amazing. So, here are this year's variations:
for 10.5 oz good-quality bittersweet chocolate, we used one 4.5 oz milk chocolate ghiradelli bars, one 4.5 oz dark chocolate ghiradelli bar, plus approz 1 oz of a remaining bittersweet ghiradelli bar and 1.5 oz actual bittersweet baking chocolate. Basically, a mishmash of what we had on hand (yay!).
For the 2 c. of cream, I mixed 1 c. Horizon Organic heavy whipping cream with 1 c. milk.
I used dark corn syrup and only cooked the sugar/water mass for about 6-7 minutes, per last time.
I only used 2 Tbl of butter instead of 3.
When the chocolate and cream were added to the sugar mass, I originally cooked it to just 220. This proved to be too low, and in the morning (after it had sat in the fridge all night in its pan, salted and everythig), I dumped the whole thing (including the butter and salt, which normally are added after cooking) into a pan and cooked to 230. Perfection. I started cutting a bit later, about the 1 hour mark. It was soft at first, but was quite firm by the time I'd finished, so I think it was the right time to cut.
These lack the pretty dusting of salt of their forbears, but have all the same great flavour. They're still a bit greasy and I've patted them lightly with a paper towel to help remove extra oil beading up on them. I'll wrap them in little squares of parchment today and then off they go!
And since it looks like a real winter wonderland outside, here's a peep of what's going on in the window behind those cooling caramels; gorgeous, no?