Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sugar Coated

You may recall that I made my first batch of caramel, a few weeks ago, on a wing and a prayer and (nonetheless) it worked quite well. My next batch, crafted with a candy thermometer, didn't really set because - I thought - the thermometer was defective (which led me to remove the mixture from the heat prematurely).

Last week, I made the latest batch, pure candy perfection, with a new thermometer which - initially - seemed to be as defective as the last. Expensive and defective. As the batch simmered, so did I, till it occurred to me - in a moment of clarity - that my problem wasn't the thermometer, it was my perception of the way candy cooks.

The recipe I've been using, one which yields excellent results and for which I am very grateful, nonetheless suggests that the caramel should boil at 248 degrees for 15 minutes. What it really means to suggest is that caramel takes 15 minutes to get to 248 degrees - whereupon you better get it the fuck off the heat stat or you're going to have peanut brittle.

Maybe y'all know this, but just in case...

Here are a few shots of the tasty results of my fortuitous epiphany:


  1. these are too good - & look shop bought!

  2. Oh well done - I know what you mean ref recipe instructions they are not always crystal clear!

  3. do you mean that "boil for fifteen minutes and take it off when it reaches 248"?

  4. Impressive and delicious ~ I want some!


  5. Well. That looks delicious! Now here's a recipe challenge for you: when I was little, my mum would make homemade chocolate sauce for ice cream. Do you have any great Canadian recipes for this seemingly simply treat?

  6. Iris: It's the Fleur de Sel caramel recipe on Epicurious. If you can't find it, email me and I'll send it to you. You'll love it!

    Wendy: Merci!

    Pink: What a great compliment, thank you.

    Dr. M: It's not good for you but it sure does taste good.

    Kate: Why aren't the technical writing skills strong in the culinary writer's set? You'd think they'd have it down.

    D.: Effectively yes. That's about how long boiling on medium boil takes. But it can take a bit longer.


    Miss C: I do have a great recipe. It's actually from the original Silver Palate cookbook. Always works awesomely. Email if you want me to send you the deets.

    ~h, Marta and Summer: It's not hard to make. And so delish to eat! Thanks to you all...

  7. Oh--I have the SP cookbook--have used it since the mid 80s. Must take a peek. Is it disguised as sauce for profiteroles or something else fancy?

  8. so gorgeous!!! and i am a big fan of peanut brittle, too, so that wouldn't be the worst ending in the world if things went slightly awry. :)

  9. Ummmm, yummy-looking. Now that you have told us the recipe, I shall hop right over there so I have this for a treat when I reach my next "self-improvement" milestone.

  10. Caramel is my achilles heel. I'm glad I don't live near you, because I'd be knocking on your door every minute.

  11. Miss C: Intriguingly, I think it is disguised as sauce for profiteroles! It's really top of the line, no matter what they call it.

    Droll: You are so accomodating! Only good can come of it :-)

    Mardel: I know, it IS self-improving :-)

    E: Oh, you really have to make this recipe with Miss 13. It's so fun and seriously delicious.

    Jennine: Oh, you flatter me... :-)