Myself and Mr K usually make different food gifts as Christmas presents; Mr K gets busy with jams and preserves, I bake Christmas cakes and create bags of sweets. Well, the jams aren’t quite happening this year but the cakes are ready and I’m gradually working on the sweets.
Salted caramels are a wonderful treat. They’re actually really easy to make and cost a fraction of the shop bought equivalent. The most difficult thing about them is resisting the urge to eat them all before you actually get chance to give them away! They deserve a dreamy, hazy photograph:
I’ve tried a few different recipes over the year and my favourite is by Ruth Clemens of The Pink Whisk. She has good instructions and includes a photographed tutorial, but I’ve added my tips below to help you on your way…
1. Invest in a sugar thermometer, it will make your life a lot easier.
2. Weigh all your ingredients and prepare your equipment before starting; it’s good to have everything on standby.
3. Don’t heat the ingredients too quickly or it will burn. Steady, gentle heat and constant stirring until it comes to the boil. I work on an electric hob and turn the ring down a notch once the caramel is boiling to prevent it catching. Be patient once it starts to boil as it can take a while for to reach 121ºC at which point it becomes soft golden caramel.
4. It’s really really really important to wash the inside of the pan down as the caramel starts to boil using a pastry brush and water as Ruth demonstrates. This will ensure you have smooth velvety caramel rather than a grainy finish.
5. Ruth has you pour the molten hot caramel into silicone ice cube trays which I don’t own, and to be honest it seems a bit faffy to me, so I line a loaf tin with oiled greaseproof paper, pour the caramel straight in from the pan then cut it up once cool. If it is a bit too sticky, pop it in the fridge to cool for a 30 minutes or so.
6. I tend to add a bit more salt than stated as I like a good tang with my caramel, but be aware that the salt flavour will develop so don’t go too crazy, an extra ½ a teaspoon will be plenty then sprinkle more over the finished caramel if you like.
7. This isn’t really suitable for doing with kids so wait until they’ve gone to bed!
8. Store them in the fridge or a cool dark place until ready to gift them or they will become over soft. Ensure they are in a tightly sealed tub so they don’t pick up any odours from the fridge.
I also experimented with coating the caramel in melted dark chocolate…let’s face it, it was never going to be a bad thing was it!
More food posts coming over the next few days. Yum Yum!