Sunday, April 3, 2011

Honey Cream Caramels ~ SMS


Welcome to another Sweet Melissa Sundays Blog post. For those not familiar, Sweet Melissa Sundays, (SMS), is a blog group of bakers who embark on baking recipes from the book, The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, by author Melissa Murphy. Every Sunday, one baker hosts, thus posting a recipe from the book on their blog. The other members bake the recipe as well and blog about it. The recipe would only be found on the ‘host baker’s blog.

Making caramel appears to be daunting. After making this recipe, I was pleasantly surprised of its simplicity. The most important factor in making caramel is monitoring the temperature as you cook the sugar mixture to the firm-ball stage. If it is undercooked, it will result in a caramel that is too soft. If overcooked, it will end up hard and not easy to bite into. To make a successful caramel, it’s important to stir the sugars and dairy products constantly to prevent it from scorching. The cooking develops color and flavor. It is very important to use a large, three to four quart size, heavy-bottomed pan. Caramel boils rapidly during cooking as the temperature rises. Having enough pan space where the sugar can boil freely is vital for safety.

Check out this great youtube video about the science of making caramel. The video, How to Make Caramel by ChalkboardKitchen is very informative and entertaining too.

My opinion of this recipe? It's fabulous! This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Now, onto the recipe. I love nuts, so I added pecans and sea salt as additional flavor enhancers.

HONEY CREAM CARAMELS
 The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy

Adapted by Carmen of Baking is my Zen


Makes 2 1/2 pounds Caramel
(Enough for sixteen 2-inch squares or sixty-four 1-inch squares)

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup clover honey
2 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Oil spray (PAM)– for pan & knives
½ cup pecans, toasted & chopped
Sea Salt - sprinkle according to your preference

EQUIPMENT:
8 x 8 x 2 inch square pan
Airtight container
Candy thermometer
Chef’s (or Cook’s) knife
Heat resistant spatula
Knife (butter)
Large heavy-bottomed saucepan (3 to 4 quart size)
Parchment paper

BEFORE YOU START:

Cut parchment paper to line the pan. Allow enough paper to extend over all four sides.

Lightly spray the parchment lined 8 x 8 x 2 -inch square pan with PAM oil spray.

Dab it with a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Sprinkle the pan with a layer of toasted, chopped pecans.(My addition)

DIRECTIONS:
(TIP: Before adding honey and corn syrup in measuring cup, spray cup very lightly with PAM oil spray. This makes removal very easy. )

  1. In a large, nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, heavy cream, and butter.
  2. Cook, stirring continuously (using heat resistant spatula), until the mixture reaches 250°F on a candy thermometer (firm-ball stage).
  3. Remove from the heat.
    Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt. (my addition)
  6. Set aside, uncovered, in a cool place to firm up. (Best if left to firm up overnight)
  7. When firm, loosen the edges of the pan with an oiled knife.
  8. Turn out onto a clean work surface and, using a lightly oiled chef’s knife, cut into strips, then into squares.
  9. Wrap each square in parchment paper, twisting the ends.
  10. The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 2 weeks.


RECIPE PHOTO TUTORIAL
By Carmen Ortiz of Baking is my Zen

HONEY CREAM CARAMELS
Recipe by Melissa Murphy

INGREDIENTS:
Corn syrup, honey, sugar, kosher salt, heavy cream, unsalted butter, and vanilla extract.
(My additions - Sea salt, pecans, PAM oil spray.)

BEFORE YOU START:

Cut parchment paper to line the pan. Allow enough paper to extend over all four sides.
I did not line all four sides. I simply forgot to! Next time, I will do so.
Lightly spray the parchment lined 8 x 8 x 2 -inch square pan with PAM oil spray.
Dab it with a paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Sprinkle the pan with a layer of toasted, chopped pecans.

DIRECTIONS:
(TIP: Before adding honey and corn syrup in measuring cup, spray cup very lightly with PAM oil spray. This makes cleanup easier.)


In a large, nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, combine the
corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, heavy cream, and butter.


Cook, stirring continuously (using heat resistant spatula), until the mixture reaches 250°F on a candy thermometer (firm-ball stage).


Remove from the heat.
Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle with sea salt.
Set aside, uncovered, in a cool place to firm up. (Best if left to firm up overnight)

PREP BEFORE CUTTING CARAMELS:
Cut parchment paper to a size of approximately 3 ½ inch x 5 inch for each caramel. The caramel size was about 1 inch x ½ inch. (That’s how it worked out for me)

Have a chef knife and oil spray ready for cutting the caramel.


CUTTING THE CARAMELS:
When firm, loosen the edges of the pan with an oiled knife.

Turn caramel block out onto a clean work surface and, using a lightly oiled chef’s knife, cut into strips, then into squares.

Oil the chef knife and wipe off excess with paper towel.
Wrap each square in parchment paper, twisting the ends.


The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 2 weeks.


Stop by the other SMS (Sweet Melissa Sundays) Bakers’ blogs to see their posts on the
Honey Cream Caramels recipe.


Peace in Baking,

Carmen

Baking is my Zen…sweet nibbles for the soul



12 comments:

Ms Fifikins said...

Oh wow! I am just about to blog mine now. Just going to grab another one for inspiration ;-)

Thanks so much for hosting! Yours look amazing!

Candy Girl said...

Fantastic tutorial! I love, love this recipe and was so glad to finally see it on the SMS schedule.

Thanks for hosting this week. Your caramels look delicious. I especially like the photo of them in the candy jar. I want some more now!

Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday said...

These look amazing! and I love the step-by-step tutorial for it.

Gloria said...

Thanks for picking such a great recipe! I have had my eye on this one for awhile and it did not disappoint. I loved the caramels and will be making this again. Your's look delicious with the pecan and sea salt. I would add sea salt for sure next time. Thanks for the tutorial...I wish I would have thought to use cooking spray on my utensils...I kept trying to slather butter on my knife...not so easy. Thanks again for the great pick!

Tracey said...

Thanks for hosting Carmen! Your caramels look great :) I added the salt to mine too, and thought it was the perfect counter to the sweetness.

HanaĆ¢ said...

Wow, you sure made them extra special with your add-ins. They look wonderful. Love your tutorial.

Sreelu said...

thank you so much for the recipe, your pictures make it so inspiring, I would love to try this

Three-Cookies said...

Your website design is really unique/interesting. And those caramels are to die for!

Jaime said...

great pick, thanks for hosting! we loved these! :)

Eliana said...

Dang girl! Now I feel like such a dork for not making these. Not only did you beautifully break down the process but they also look STUNNING!!! Love love love.

Tessa said...

Pecans + caramel are definitely a classic combo. Sounds delicious with the salt. Thanks for hosting. It was a fun recipe to attempt!

Sherry G said...

Your pictures are so clear and perfect. Nice caramels!

DO NOT USE MY PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT PERMISSION

ALL PHOTOGRAPHY (UNLESS INDICATED) IN THIS BLOG BELONGS TO CARMEN ORTIZ OF BAKING IS MY ZEN.

PLEASE DO NOT USE MY PHOTOGRAPHY WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

Thank You.

~ Carmen Ortiz - blogger (Baking is my Zen)