Winter Doldrums

February 5, 2014

 caramel iii

Winter is really getting me down this year.  I’m not one to complain about the weather.  I mean what’s the point?  I can’t control it, so I usually roll with it.  But not this year.  This year the snow, and boy have we had it in spades, and the cold have gotten to me.  I know this isn’t my favorite season, but still, I’m so over the polar vortex and all it entails.

To help me with deal with winter, I bought a cookbook.  I don’t usually buy cookbooks, I find that there is only one or two recipes I use out each one.  Then they just take up space in my cupboard.  That’s not to say that I don’t have any cookbooks, just that I’ve scaled back quite a bit on them.  But, I bought The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen.  She’s awesome.  There are quite a few gems in this book and I hope to work my way through a few during these cold months.

I made her caramel recipe, which is very similar to a recipe that I’ve made for years.  I think the only difference is my original recipe had a time measurement for cooking the candy, which got me in trouble the first time I made it.  I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I made a lot of caramel sauce.  Her recipe also helped me figure out how to cut the candy.  I stopped making caramel for that reason alone.

So, obviously, you’ll need a candy thermometer to make these awesome treats.  And you can add nuts.  I sprinkled some crushed cashews to the top half of my last batch.  I also added an additional sprinkle of salt to the top before it set.  Yum!


caramel iiCaramel

  • 2 C Heavy Cream
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1 C Butter
  • 2 C Light Corn Syrup
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 t Vanilla

Line a quarter sheet baking pan with parchment paper.

In a heavy wide-bottomed stock pot combine 1 C cream, sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a simmer, then a boil.  Once the mixture has boiled for a few minutes, add the remaining cream.  Cook steadily over medium heat, to a steady low boil, stirring intermittently with a wooden spoon.  Cook the caramel until 238 degrees , soft candy stage.  You will know you are close when the mixture thickens and turns an amber color .  Once it is 238 degrees, add the vanilla, stirring to combine and pour in prepared pan.  Let the caramel cool at room temperature overnight.

Cut a large stack of waxed paper into 2 or 3 inch squares, and set aside.

When ready to slice, remove from pan and place face down on a cutting board to remove the paper.  Use a serrated knife and cut the caramel into 1/2 or 1 inch pieces, place on the waxed paper pieces, roll and twist the ends.

These can last for months at room temperature.

Makes 100-150 pieces of candy.

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