Articles, Blog

How to Make Soft Caramels

October 11, 2019

Welcome back to Pastry Maestra! I’m Tereza and today I’m making soft caramels. Caramel is one of the oldest confectioneries. Its origin dates back to the 7th century,
when the Arabs discovered cane sugar in Persia. They heated it up and then got the dark
brown liquid which they called “Khurat Al
Milh” (“sugar ball”). The sugar was brought to Europe by the
crusaders and it was first sold by
pharmacists, and in the 14th century it
becomes the basis of a candy. The word caramel was first recorded in the
English language in 1725; it is believed
that the word comes from the Spanish caramelo… …which did not refer to the chewy caramel
candy we know today, but more likely, to
caramelized sugar. Until the end of the 19th century, sugar, a
fundamental ingredient for making caramels… …was not yet a common consumer product,
and the cream was not used as such but
instead turned into butter… …so one may presume that the caramel was not
a widely obtainable sweet. The first written mention available to us is
recorded in the “Universal Dictionary of
Practical Cooking”.. ..written by Swiss chef Joseph Favre, in 1894. It offers several caramel recipes: coffee,
cocoa, fruit, and cream. Once caramels were set, they were cut with a
“caramel cutter”, a sort of mesh made up of
dozens of boxes, or with a fluted roll. Americans believe that soft caramel candy is
an American invention—however, it isn’t
recorded who invented it or when it happened. By the mid-1800s, there were nearly 400
American candy manufacturers producing hard
candies as well as caramels. So, the real inventor of soft caramels
remains anonymous. Before we start, I have a couple of tips. If you don’t have a candy thermometer I
strongly suggest that you get one. You see, if you don’t have a candy thermometer,
you’ll have to determine the stage of sugar
syrup by dipping your hand in boiling sugar… …and that is dangerous, so if you want to
learn this technique, by all means study my
post on that subject, the link is in the description. Also – weigh all the ingredients and prepare
your mold. I have already done that, so now I’ll show
you how to make soft caramels. As usual, the recipe is on my site,
the link is down below. First thing I’m gonna do is line 15x15cm
(6×6 inches) baking pan with parchment paper. I’m gonna put sugar and enough water to cover
the sugar into a saucepan, mix to combine and
put the lid on. When the syrup boils, the steam will wash
down the sugar crystals from the sides of the
pan. I’m gonna remove the lid, add glucose and
continue cooking until the syrup caramelizes. My sugar syrup has nice amber color and I’ve
removed the pan from the stove. I’m gonna carefully add cream that I’ve heated
in the microwave. Now I’m gonna add butter and stir until incorporated. I’ve put my mixture back on the stove and now
I’m gonna insert… …a probe of my digital candy thermometer inside
and continue cooking my caramel. My caramel reached 121°C (250°F). I’m gonna remove the pan from the stove,
and add vanilla powder. Then I’m gonna pour the hot mixture into a
prepared baking pan immediately. I’m gonna leave it to cool at room temperature
for couple of hours or overnight. To cut my caramels I’m gonna brush my knife
with some oil. I’ve placed the cooled caramel slab onto a
cutting board and first I’m gonna trim the
edges. Then I’m gonna cut the slab into strips that
are app. 3cm (about 1 inch) wide. I didn’t peel off the paper from the bottom
of my caramel so it wouldn’t stick to the
cutting board. I’m gonna cut each strip into 3 pieces. I’m gonna wrap each caramel in the cellophane,
and make a wonderful edible gifts for my friends. Naturally, the edges of the slab are not pretty
enough to be gift-wrapped, so I guess… …I’ll have to eat those myself, it’s hard work,
but hey, somebody has got to do it, right?

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