A Blog About Food
Chocolate Covered Pecan Caramels
The Finish Line
Why not start where I stopped?
The Finished Product
Well, here we are, this is the finished product. Chocolate covered caramels laced with pecans. I was planning on sprinkling them with salt. But I forgot. Fortunately, nobody noticed.
As a trick, I found that pouring the caramel into circles (as apposed lines or a sheet) onto parchment paper worked best. That way I didn't have to cut or handle the cooling caramel, which I found caused it to crystallize.
In my opinion, if there is any key to working with caramel, it's touching it as little as possible (i.e. avoid rolling into balls or cutting).
If there's a magic ratio, I never found it. I used Brown Sugar with a hint of cream, butter, and vanilla.
Experimentation is Key
I made three batches of caramels.
|Version 1||Version 2||Version 3|
|½ Cup Brown Sugar||½ Cup Brown Sugar||½ Cup Brown Sugar|
|½ Cup Pecans||½ Cup Pecans||½ Cup Pecans|
|1 tbsp Butter||2 tbsp Butter||2 tbsp Butter|
|2 tbsp Cream||4 tbsp Cream||2 tbsp Cream|
|1 tbsp Water|
|¼ tsp Vanilla||½ tsp Vanilla|
Now, I'm not the most scientific of chefs. And by and large, the only reason I kept track was so others (the gift receivers) could comment on the mixtures they liked best. But as a general rule (I'm guessing, at least), the more butter and cream, the creamier the caramel.
I mixed the pecans in from the start in the first batch, added them towards the end at the second, and just placed them on top of the poured caramel for the third. I would go with that last method (placing on top of the finished caramel) if I ever do this again.
For the most, I think the difference in flavour/consistency had more to do with the cooking/stirring than the ingredients. But if I had to do it again, I'd lose the water for sure; and likely, follow the proportions from version 2. I say likely, because the truth of the matter is I'll just wing it. Or if I bother to look at this page first, I'll probably split the difference between Version 2 and Version 3.
One thing's for sure, I would try to resist the urge to stir the mixture (not even once, no matter how much it calls out to me for stirring).
Ready! Get Set!
This really is the easy part. I just let it boil on low for about ten minutes.
Now we're Cooking with
Along with the caramel, I did three different chocolate glazes. Though, to be honest, what I really did was start a pot of chocolate going and just add more ingredients as I went along. So, here's (approximately) what I did for the chocolate, which just, by-the-by, has nothing to do with images above:
|Version 1||Version 2||Version 3|
|I placed a bunch of milk-chocolate in a pan, melted it, added a bit of cream and a touch of water.||Added a bunch more of the works: chocolate, cream, water||Started worrying about the cream spoiling and the chocolate melting in transit, so only used water|
|Creamy like Frosting||Goey like Fudge||Hard thin Chocolate|
Version 2 won hands down, but wasn't that good on the storage front. Still, who cares? This stuff is a breeze to make, so I can't think of a reason to store it. And as to ratios of cream to chocolate, um, let's see, I started with a fourth of the big (as in huge) bar of chocolate (pound plus), and I used maybe two tablespoons of cream, so that's maybe a half pound or eight ounces of chocolate, divided by two tablespoons of cream, and that gives somewhere between ¼ & ½ tablespoons (tbsp) of Cream per oz. of Milk Chocolate to make the chocolate frosting/glaze. Nothing could be simpler.
Cook It! Cook It Good!
It's Easy Once You Know the Secret. Note to self, resist the urge to stir.
Usually, when I look for a recipe online, I'm just looking for basic ratios. Yeah, great your grandma may have sworn by her ingredient list; but two sites over, and someone else's aunt is swearing by another. Who's right? Um, the one giving me the Free Food
. But since she (my grandma and the one who gave me free food) never taught me how to make caramel, I'm pretty much on my own. And so, one grandma's version is as good as the next aunt's.
In other news:
- I'm not mixing the caramel next time.
- Or maybe I will, but the more mixing, the more granular and the more praline like it gets, so I guess it depends in what I'm in the mood for.
- I won't mix the stuff at all if I want a creamy caramel. It won't burn. It's magic that way.
- Note: individual results may vary
- I didn't use a thermometer.
- I boiled the caramel (on low) and after a while, dropped a bit into some water, felt it with my fingers (after it cooled), put it in my mouth, and tried to decide if I liked the texture. When I did, I stopped.
- I'd call it ten minutes of boiling, but between heat, personal preference, and the amount of water, cream, and butter added, the actual time is anybody's guess.
- I found cleaning up to be easy.
- I was worried about this, but no need. I filled the cooking pot back up with water, brought it to a boil, and my pans were clean. I could not tell you about baked on caramel, but I didn't have any of that. I'm guessing that happens after the caramel stops boiling, which, you know, is a bad thing, because that means it's burning, but that never happened to me.
I found making caramel to be painfully easy. So easy, I have no idea why I've never tried this before. Well, OK. I know that last. It's because I thought making caramel was hard. But it's not. It's easy... painfully easy. So easy... and so on.
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