Chocolates & Candies

Homemade Butterfinger

Posted on Nov 20, 2013 in Chocolates & Candies, Cookies | 8 comments

Homemade Butterfinger

Have you ever seen something so ridiculous, so crazy and thought there is no way that could work? Which can only mean one thing……I  MUST TRY! That’s kind of how I felt about homemade butterfinger. Really homemade butterfinger with candy corn & peanut butter? Is it really possible?

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More Pumpkin! Pumpkin Salted Caramels

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 in Chocolates & Candies, Techniques | 11 comments

More Pumpkin! Pumpkin Salted Caramels

Remember how I told you how much I love Pumpkin? Well I aint no liar! I was feeling a little overwhelmed the other day.  My husband and I recently decided to try…for a baby! It’s incredibly exciting and super scary all at the same time because I know nothing about babies or kids.  I’ve never really babysat, worked in any children’s ministries or even changed a diaper for that matter! I am clueless when it comes to kids. I know we will totally figure it out and I have lots of girlfriends with newborns under 3 months so I can run for help when I need it, but I am still freaking out a little.  And when I am freaking out, chocolate covered pumpkin salted caramels seem to make things a little better.

Pumpkin Salted Caramels

Caramels may seem difficult to make but they are fairly simply.  Make sure you use a candy thermometer.  I learned this the hard way.  You can make them without one but it keeps you from handling hot sugar too much which can be dangerous and it keeps the guessing out. Caramel is basically cooked sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter.  The browning occurs as a result of the Malliard reaction, the reaction between the sugar and the proteins in the cream.  The Malliard reaction is also what happens when you caramelize onions and barbeque meats and we love it because as I have learned from Anne Burrell “Brown food tastes good!”.

Pumpkin Salted Caramels

Here are a few things to keep in mind when making caramels.

1.) Corn syrup is needed because it acts as an interfering agent.  It helps the sugar molecules from crystallizing, which would result in grainy caramels….yuck.

2.) After the syrup begins boiling, you need to stop stirring.  It will be tempting but don’t do it. At this point you have dissolved the crystal structure of the sugar, stirring would agitate the crystals and encourage them to rejoin together, again grainy caramels.

3.) Make sure you brush down the sides of the pot to capture any stray sugar crystals. A single sugar after the crystals have been dissolved entering back into  the party can also encourage recrystallization.

4.) When you add liquid to hot sugar it will violently boil so make sure you are using a large enough pot to contain violent bubbling when the cream is added.

5.) Watch it closely!

Chewy soft caramels are heated to the soft ball stage at 240 degrees F.  If you like your caramels a little harder you can heat them a little longer to about 250 degrees F. Here is a handy thermometer chart I created to help you remember the different stages of candy and your desired end product and ways to determine the stage of your candy if your thermometer craps out on you in the middle of candy making, like mine did.

Free Kitchen Printable Candy Temperatures

When I made these I thought my caramels were in the soft ball stage but after they cooled I realized I was a little off.  They were a little too soft to serve as caramels on their own so my solution was to cover them in chocolate.  These pumpkin salted caramels are seriously amazing but to be 100% truthful, they were better before they were covered in chocolate.  There is an intense flavor of pumpkin and the usual pumpkin spices, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and unfortunately, I think the chocolate took away from these great flavors.  The next time I make them I will make sure before I start the process that my thermometer is working properly.  Until then I will just have to make due with fixing my mistakes with chocolate.

Pumpkin Salted Caramels

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 3/4 cups Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2/3 cups Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 8oz Chopped chocolate or chocolate wafers
  • Sea Salt

Directions

Step 1
Gather a candy thermometer, a 3-4 quart large pot & a 8 x4 inch loaf pan. Line the loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush the sides with oil.
Step 2
In a separate saucepan, combine heavy cream, pumpkin puree and spices and warm. Do not boil.
Step 3
Whisk the sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, & water together in the heavy bottomed pot. Brush down the sides on the pot with water to remove every grain of sugar. Set the candy thermometer into the sugar. Cook the mixture over medium heat, without stirring, until the mixture reaches the firm ball stage, 248 degrees F, about 18 to 20 minutes.
Step 4
Then very carefully add the warmed cream and pumpkin mixture, and slowly bring this mixture to 240 degrees as registered on a on a candy thermometer. Watch it carefully and stir it more frequently once it hits 225 degrees to keep it from burning at the bottom of the pan. I always like to wear ovenmits in this stage because it can get hot. Add the vanilla extract and butter at the very end and stir until combined.
Step 5
Pour into the parchment lined dish and refrigerate for a few hours until hard enough to cut into squares.
Step 6
After the caramel has cooled and cut into squares. You can either enjoy them now or cover them in chocolate. To cover in chocolate, temper the chocolate in a double boiler and dip each caramel square letting the excess chocolate drip off. Top with sea salt and place them on parchment paper to harden. Enjoy!

Linking this recipe to these fun and fabulous link parties!

 

 

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