Silver Lining

The Poor Daughter is suffering from Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis.  She stayed home from school on Monday and we visited the pediatrician, who prescribed her four medications.

The silver lining in an otherwise miserable day was a new recipe venture- caramels.  The Daughter wanted to make them.  I would do anything to help her keep her mind off her red, itchy eyes, and if that includes caramels, why not?

I have never made any type of candy before and found this recipe to be remarkably straightforward and simple.

The instructions were to use a small saucepan; she pulled out this one (we halved the recipe).  We averted near disaster as the caramel almost boiled over and transferred everything to...

this pot.  Having a candy thermometer is key.  We were experiencing the proverbial "watched pot never boils" and the 20 minutes felt like to an eternity.  Finally, around 230º F I think, the liquid started slowly darkening.

We poured it into a buttered 9-inch baking pan and let it cool.

She cut the caramel into strips,

kneaded and balled a two-inch section,

rolled it into a long grissini-like strip,

cut 1-inch sections,

and wrapped it in wax paper.

The caramels are wonderful.  When I make them again, I will try adding 50% more butter for a stronger buttery flavor.  The Kids liked them just as they were.

Vanilla Caramels
from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
4 T. butter
pinch of salt
1 1/2 t. vanilla

Grease a 9-inch square pan.

Combine heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt in medium saucepan.  On low heat, using whisk, stir constantly, until sugar dissolves, then cook, stirring only occasionally, until the mixture reaches 245º F.

Stir in the vanilla and and pour into the prepared pan.  When the mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove the block of caramel from the pan and use a sharp knife to cut it into small squares.  wrap each square in waxed paper or plastic wrap.  These keep for weeks, but are best eaten fresh.

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