Dec 11, 2012


Candy-Box Caramels
12 ounces chocolate- and/or vanilla-flavor candy coating*, coarsely chopped
1 cup toffee pieces, crushed; finely chopped pistachios; and/or nonpareils
48 short plastic or wooden skewers (optional)
1 14 ounce package vanilla caramels (about 48), unwrapped
2 ounces chocolate- and/or vanilla-flavor candy coating*, coarsely chopped (optional)
1. In a microwave-safe 4-cup measure, place the 12 ounces candy coating. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 3 minutes or just until melted, stirring every 30 seconds.
2. Place toffee pieces, nuts, or nonpareils in a shallow dish. If desired, insert a skewer into each caramel. Dip one caramel into melted candy coating; turn to coat as much of the caramel as desired, allowing excess coating to drip off caramel. (If not using skewers, use a fork to lift caramel out of candy coating, drawing the fork across the rim of the glass measure to remove excess coating from caramel.) Place dipped caramel in toffee pieces, nuts, and/or nonpareils, turning to coat. Place coated caramel on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat with remaining caramels. Let caramels stand about 1 hour or until coating dries.
3. If desired, microwave 2 ounces of a contrasting color of candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl on 100% power (high) for 2 minutes or just until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Transfer coating to a small, heavy plastic bag; cut a small hole in one corner of bag and drizzle additional coating over coated caramels. Let caramels stand until set. Makes 48 pieces.
from the test kitchen
Layer caramels between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
*If desired, substitute milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and/or white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter for candy coating.
Salt and Pink Peppercorn Caramels
1 cup butter
1 16 ounce package packed brown sugar (2-1/4 cups)
2 cups half-and-half or light cream
1 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 - 1 ½ teaspoons flaked sea salt or smoked flaked sea salt
1/2 - 1 ½ teaspoons pink peppercorns, crushed
1. Line an 8x8x2-inch or 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil. Set aside.
2. In a 3-quart heavy saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, half-and-half, and corn syrup; mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan (see Candy Thermometer, below). Reduce heat to medium. Continue boiling mixture at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, until the thermometer registers 248 degrees F, firm-ball stage (40 to 50 minutes). Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil.
3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour mixture into prepared pan. Cool 10 to 12 minutes; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When firm use foil to lift candy out of pan.* Use a buttered knife to cut into 2x1/2-inch size pieces. Wrap each caramel in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Store up to 2 weeks.

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