Tips: Chewy but meltingly
soft, these fresh caramels are wonderful! Do not attempt to make
them on a humid day, or a day when you have no patience or are
liable to be distracted. They demand time, attention, and some
babying, and are worth every second of it. You must use a candy
thermometer to make these (mine is mounted on a stainless steel
frame and made by Taylor), and you'll need a pastry brush as well.
If wrapped individually and stored airtight, these will keep for
at least a week at room temperature.
- 1-1/2 cups light cream
- 3 squares (3 ozs.) semisweet
chocolate, finely chopped
- 3 squares (3 ozs.) unsweetened
chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup mild, light honey
- Pinch salt
- 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
- 1-1/2 tsp. hot water
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted
butter, cut into thin pats, at room temperature
Line an 8" square pan with aluminum
foil as neatly as possible, smoothing out as many creases as you
can, and making sure to leave some overhang on all edges (fold
the overhang over the outside edges of the pan). Make sure there
are no holes in the foil! With a crumpled paper towel, lightly
oil the foil with tasteless vegetable oil. Set aside.
Clip candy thermometer onto side
of nonreactive, heavy-bottomed three quart pot. Adjust height
of thermometer so that bulb does not touch bottom of pot (if thermometer
is mounted on a frame, bottom of frame may touch bottom of pot).
Remove candy thermometer (reserve three quart pot); place thermometer
in two quart pot filled about 3/4 full of cold water. Place this
pot over medium or low heat so thermometer can pre-warm while
caramel mixture cooks to a boil.
Heavily butter the sides of the
three quart pot. Pour in the cream. Over medium heat, bring cream
to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Carefully,
avoiding splashing, add both chocolates and whisk briefly until
chocolate is in small flecks (some chocolate, but not all, will
be melted now). Add sugar, honey, and salt. Replace over medium
heat, whisking gently but constantly to dissolve sugar. Do not
beat vigorously with whisk--just stir with it. While mixture heats,
carefully wash down the sides two or three times with a pastry
brush dipped in hot water, squeezing out most of the water before
brushing down the pot sides (start at the top and work downward
to do this). Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil (if you
wish, you can use a large spoon instead of a whisk to stir with
after incorporating the chocolate).
Boil over medium heat, stirring
every few minutes, until mixture reaches 248-249 degrees F on
candy thermometer. This may take 45 minutes or longer. Be patient;
my caramel mixture seems to get to about 222 degrees F and hover
there forever, but the temperature will rise eventually. Mixture
should boil rapidly, but reduce heat if it threatens to boil over.
BE CAREFUL WHEN STIRRING!!! When mixture is less concentrated,
at lower temperatures, some can splash out of the pot as you stir,
even if you stir gently. You might want to wear long sleeves and/or
a glove style pot holder. Some chocolate flecks will still be
visible as mixture boils--OK. While it boils, dissolve instant
espresso powder in hot water in small cup; set aside.
When caramel reaches end temperature,
remove from heat. Add butter pats, then dissolved espresso. Gently
but thoroughly stir to incorporate (this will take a minute or
two; make sure the melted butter is really mixed in). Turn into
prepared pan, scraping pot bottom well, but not pot sides. If
required, quickly spread evenly. Cool undisturbed at room temperature.
When completely cooled, store airtight overnight to allow flavor
To wrap these once they are cut,
you'll need wax paper. If you have a yield of 64 caramels per
batch, as I do, you'll need 64 pieces of wax paper, each about
5" long by 4" wide. Remove uncut block of caramel, still in foil,
from pan. Place on cutting board. Lightly oil the blade of a large,
heavy, sharp, straight-edged knife with tasteless vegetable oil.
Score the uncut block into squares, then cut it. It will be necessary
to run the knife blade under very hot water, dry it, and re-oil
it frequently. Once the caramels are cut, wrap as follows: place
a piece of the cut wax paper so that a 4" side faces you. Place
a caramel about 1/3 of the way up the length of the wax paper
and centered regarding the 4" width. Starting from the 4" side
closest to you, fold the caramel over and over in the wax paper,
rolling tightly. When folded to the end, pick up the wrapped candy
and twist the ends in opposite directions (exactly like a salt
water taffy "kiss"--in fact, the caramel will probably take on
a "kiss" shape instead of a square shape). Wrap remaining caramels
the same way. Caramels can be cut smaller or larger, if desired.
64 squares or "kisses"
Variation: Mocha-Nut Caramels
Make caramels as directed above.
When butter and dissolved espresso have been partially incorporated,
add 2/3 cup medium-fine chopped, toasted, cooled nuts (usealmonds,
walnuts, or pecans). Stir until blended in; proceed as above.
Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but
retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute
the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie
Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your
own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use
the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information
for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer
for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this
server from your own documents.