1/13/12

FOODIE FRIDAY -- Caramel

True confessions here . . . I haven't been cooking much 'real' food recently. Oh, I cooked bunches over the holidays, but once the kidlet started swim practice again I've fallen off the cooking wagon.  Yes, it is a problem having swim practice at 6:30. She needs to eat between 5-5:30 PM, but the hubby doesn't come home until 5:45-6 PM, and we sure as shootin' aren't going to be eating dinner at 8 PM!

Next week, I'll be experimenting with crockpot recipes. That way the kidlet and I can eat early, but dinner will still be ready and hot for the hubby when he gets home.

Until then, I'll leave you with one last candy recipe. I made this yesterday. I wanted a good buttery caramel that could be dipped in chocolate or molded over pecans for turtles. It's good, but I've already jotted some notes on it to make it a little more 'mine' the next time I make it. I'll give you the unadulterated recipe, but I'll post my comments below it, in color, with how I want to change it up.

Caramel

2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Butter 9 X9-in. pan; set aside. Combine all ingredients except vanilla in heavy 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil (15-20 minutes)

Continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches 244 degrees F. or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball (25-35 minutes). Patience is a virtue here!

 Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. pour into prepared pan. Cool completely (up to 8 hours). Cut into 1.5 x 1-inch pieces; wrap candies in plastic food wrap. Store refrigerated.

Some changes I made while other comments are suggestions for next time:
--Used 2 cup cream instead of milk, with the added milk fat need to decrease butter by 2-4 Tbls.
--used 1/2 cup dark corn syrup (ran out of light corn syrup), need to use all dark or add a touch of molasses to enrich flavor
--used vanilla paste instead of extract, needs a touch more
--needs a little salt, maybe 1/2 tsp
--cut into squares to dip into chocolate.

Enjoy!

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