Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Salted Whiskey Caramels


Gypsy Slow Down


I saw these on Pinterest and I thought, oh yum. And how perfectly fathers day-ish, if we go back in time to where the men came home from work, loosened their ties and took off the suit jacket, settling in for a whiskey on the rocks while the women finished up dinner (it's true that I've watched too much Mad Men). I really enjoy making candy and so I thought I'd give these a go as part of my father's day gifts this year. Caramels are not for the faint of heart nor those without candy thermometers. I was without the latter which is why the first batch failed and the second was still a bit soft. Nonetheless they got rave reviews and I think the small bite of whiskey makes these special. I like the taste of whiskey but if you do not, I don't think I would leave it out since candy making is an exact science. On her blog she has other flavors of caramels that look totally scrumptious as well. 


Gypsy Slow Down



One day I will have the perfect weekend where I can spend the whole day in the kitchen testing and baking and then taking perfect pictures but until that happens I will settle for sometimes having to use my phone and editing later and generally running around like a fool.



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We had Witt's family over for dinner Saturday night and we had a really lovely night under the trees with steak and mashed potatoes, creamed peas and caeser salad with shrimp cocktail and cheeses for appetizers. We sat at the table and talked until it got so dark we had to slowly make our way inside.

Sunday we went to my parents where my mom and sister planned a grilled hot dog bar with every kind of hot dog you could imagine. I had a delicious thyme, gouda and caramelized onion topped hotdog and we sat around the table toasting my dad, with Mary in Puerto Rico in real time in the window seal on Lauren's phone. That was so crazy. 



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My dad has held our family together through so much over the years with such strength and dignity. As my sister Mary said in her tribute, he was the rock we all relied on when my grandfather passed away even though it was his grief as well. He has always protected and sacrificed for us, often staying at jobs he didn't like to support us and working late hours, passing up promotions that would mean he would have to travel and be away from us for long periods of time. He has loved me through belly button rings and high school drama, through tattoos and moving to Paris and he embraced Witt right away, becoming good friends and supporting our marriage. One thing about my dad is that he is always quietly in the background, working hard and never for recognition, like the time he drove 45 minutes to clean the carpets in my old apartment I was moving out of, leaving drenched in sweat and never thinking anything of doing it for me. I am thankful for him.


Salted Whiskey Caramels by SoHowsItTaste makes 64 caramels

I do not like using waxed paper for candy. It always sticks to the candy and then its impossible to get off. I don't know if you have a solution for this or never have this problem, but I didn't use the waxed paper and I was able to just grease the pan and get the candy out in one large square. I also wrapped my candies in plastic wrap for the same reason. Parchment may work better. I modified one part of these directions that were left out of the original. Use a candy thermometer for best results :)

ingredients:

5 tbsp. butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz. (1/4 cup) whiskey (I used Jack Daniel's)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. kosher (coarse) salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
up to 1 tbsp. kosher (coarse) salt, for sprinkling (you may not need the entire tablespoon)

directions:

1. Line 9-inch square pan with parchment or wax paper, allowing the paper to drape over two sides; spray lightly with cooking spray.
2. In 1-quart saucepan, heat butter, heavy whipping cream, whiskey, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boiling, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; set aside.
3. In 3-quart saucepan, mix sugar, corn syrup, and water. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR. Boil until sugar turns a warm golden brown.
4. When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful -- it will bubble up violently. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes,  stirring, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Pour caramel into pan; cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with up to 1 tablespoon salt; cool completely.
5. Cut into squares; wrap individually in parchment paper.


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