Sometimes things don't turn out exactly the way you had hoped. Like that pixie haircut I got in college. Let it be known that I can't pull of a super short look. I embraced hats while I waited for my hair to grow out. Then there was the summer that I bought a whole bunch of Bermuda shorts. Plaid ones and brightly colored ones. Shorts with animals on them and plain khakis. I should have scrutinized them in the mirror a little longer, because once I had them at home I realized they were the weirdest lenght ever. I'm mroe of a capri length kind of girl.
Expectations can be tricky, especially when you think you've got something down. Maybe you've had batch after batch of perfect macarons, only the have a day of sad, flat, foot-less cookies. Or maybe you finally got a handle on yeast and you've been making some beautiful breads. Then one day, your yeast is lazy and your bread comes out flat. We all have those moments, nobody can be perfect all the time!
I thought I had hit my groove with making candy, I've posted some pretty exciting recipes over the past few months (I'm particularly proud of my sponge candy and 3 Musketeers bars). Plain sugar candies have thusfar given me trouble. The salt water taffy wasn't the best it could be, I blame not waiting long enough to pull the sugar. These caramels just didn't set up the way I wanted, I'm pretty sure my thermometer is to blame.
I was longing to make chewy, soft caramel candies. I wound up with something more akin to a Sugar Daddy. I think that if I put these on a stick, then I would have a perfect replica (you should give that a go!) While completely delicious and very much a caramel, they weren't what I was hoping for. To achieve a soft and chewy caramel, you want to heat your sugar syrup to 248 degrees F. A little too late, I realized my thermometer had a bubble in it. This threw off my temperature reading by 4 degrees, thus giving me a candy somewhere between firm ball and soft crack stage.
This is a pretty simple candy to put together, just a simple stir and heat. Just be sure to have a properly calibrated thermometer, I switched to a digital thermometer after this batch. If you like a harder caramel then follow these directions. For a softer candy, heat the sugar syrup to only 248.
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
Butter a 10-inch square pan and set aside.
Stir together cream, sugar, corn syrup and butter in a medium pot with high sides. Heat over medium and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add butter, one tbsp at a time, until it completely melts. Clip on your candy thermometer and cook, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 252 F. It should be caramel colored.
Pour the hot sugar into the prepared pan and allow it to cool until you can handle it. Cut your candies into 1-inch squares and wrap in wax paper to store.