Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade Caramel Candies and Gift Ideas

Making candy at home is always exciting and knowing how it will thrill my kids I was really looking forward to making these Salted Caramels by David Lebovitz... the process sounded relatively simple, I had all the ingredients and a candy thermometer so I just had to find some free time and I was good to go.  I decided to included these caramels in the gift packs I was planning to give my neighbours and my daughter's teacher at school. I got these cute cookie tins at Walgreens (they are seasonal)... and filled them with homemade goodies and a handmade card.

The candies turned out exactly as I had hoped though I did not add any fleur de sel. I had no problems with them sticking to each other and was able to store them in a ziploc bag at room temperature. But I wrapped them individually when gifting.

HARD CARAMEL CANDIES ( makes approx 50 pcs)


Ingredients:
Heavy Cream - 3/4 cup
Salt - half tsp + a pinch more (since I used unsalted butter)
Vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Light Corn Syrup - half cup
Butter - 4 tbsp, at room temperature

Method:
1) In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream, 2 tbsp butter, salt and vanilla extract until the mixture begins to boil. Switch off, cover and let it stay warm.

2) Meanwhile in a heavy, deep pan (I used a 3 qt stainless steel one), combine the sugar and corn syrup and heat on medium - stirring a few times initially and later leaving it untouched until it boils and reaches a temperature of 310F  (155C) on the candy thermometer - it took me about 10 minutes and the mixture turned a light golden colour at this point.

3) Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture. I took a step back when doing this in case there was any splattering but it was quite safe.  Stir this until smooth.

4) Line a loaf pan with some heavy duty aluminium foil and spray some oil on it evenly.

5) Reheat this caramel mixture (again on medium) till it reaches 260F (127C) on the candy thermometer. The mixture will be bubbling throughout this process and this took me about 15-20 minutes to get to this stage.

6) Updated 13/Dec(forgot to add this step) Remove caramel mixture from stove and add cut pieces of the remaining 2 tbsp butter and keep stirring until smooth and shiny.

7) Pour this into the pan when done and allow to cool - about 30 minutes later, turn over the caramel bar from the pan,  peel the foil and cut into pieces.... if you wait until it cools completely it can become too hard to cut, so don't wait until it's completely cooled. I sprayed a bit of oil on the knife to prevent any sticking.

Here's a picture of the goodies that we packed as gifts - it included Pumpkin Rolls (with Cream cheese icing), chewy Oatmeal Raisin cookies and these Caramel candies. My daughter made the Santa cards to go with it.

For more fabulous ideas for food gifts please check out: Nupur's blog and Sala's blog.

18 comments:

  1. very beautiful and perfect gift . Very nicely done

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  2. Wow, perfect. very well done :)

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    1. Thanks Chitra. I used your sugar syrup post to make badam burfis :)

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  3. Lovely candies. When you shared the picture on facebook i thought they were with condensed milk; now reading this post I am sure they taste great and certainly not sticky as sometimes with the condensed milk.

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    1. I haven't tried making caramel with condensed milk akka... Yes.. these weren't sticky - i was happy with how it turned out :)

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  4. Omg, those homemade caramel candies looks very prefect and beautifully sliced..Wish i get those gifts, damn prefect.

    Btw regarding ur question about steamed samosas,i didnt rolled the dough thinly, i did as usual, they turned out prefect.

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    1. Thank you Priya.. :)

      That steamed samosa idea is truly genius.... hope to try it real soon. Thanks for answering my qn.

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  5. How sweet is that gift box? Three treats but the absolute best thing is that darling card.

    Your caramels are perfect. I've never made them and you're tempting me now.

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    1. Thanks Nupur :) My daughter loves to use oil pastels - it makes everything so vibrant.
      Next on my list is the other candy on David Lebovitz's website - the one you described to be similar to the nutties we get in India - i just adore Nutties so I'm eager to try this one.

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  6. Homemade gifts are always excellent. The candy came out perfect, like a pro :)

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    1. Thank you Cham... yes I agree - homemade gifts are always special.

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  7. Home made is always good and delicious and healthy. do visit my space pl.

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  8. Wow!!! Homemade caramel candies...now thats a perfect holiday gift.

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  9. A lovely idea indeed.. and so much better than commerical gist for this Christmas Season!

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  10. Lovely idea. It would be an apt gift for the holidays. Happy Holidays Lavanya!

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  11. Thank you Rachana & Gauri.

    Vijitha - Thank you and wishing you a happy holiday season and a wonderful New Year ahead too :)

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