Caramel can range from simple to sublime. The difference is always in the cream side of the ingredients, never the sugar. A teaspoon of Grand Marnier or the peel of an orange will make all the difference in the world. If this is the first time you have made caramel you might want to stick to the most simple recipe.

This is not simply "burnt sugar" as it is cooked sugar. Burned sugar would be blackened and have an incredibly disgusting odor. You don't want to mistake the two. When you're buying the ingredients buy those that refer to candy making on the package if possible. Don't use "Vanilla Flavoring" or any artificial ingredients in any candy, it is possible the temperature difference could cause a bad taste (since the sugar is almost always cooked to over 200 degrees).

If you will continue cooking candy get a thermometer, it's a small but invaluable investment.

Cook the cream and sugar to 240 degrees (Soft Ball, it forms a ball that does not hold it's shape when pressed). Add Vanilla and cook to 248 (Firm Ball, it holds it's shape when pressed). Pour into a oiled baking sheet (at least an inch and a half or two inches deep).

Cover (so that the covering does not touch the candy) and chill until firm. Cut with an oiled knife into inch cubes (don't overdo it or the candy will become oily, just wipe the knife with a little oil). You can wrap these individually, but keep them chilled until served.

There are many different variations on this recipe, I encourage other people to add them. All manner of candy flavorings can be added instead of Vanilla and will dramatically change the flavor. Small amounts of fruit can be added, but take the temperature into consideration, because it can burn some substances. Before making an entire batch with any flavoring try it on a small test piece to make sure that the flavorings don't clash (Mint in my experience is not pleasant).

Teas can also be used, especially Earl Grey or other breakfast teas. The dark flavors can really bring out the flavor of the sugar and cream. Message me with questions that I can add up here for first time caramel makers, I want to be as helpful as possible.

Car"a*mel (?), n. [F. caramel (cf. Sp. caramelo), LL. canna mellis, cannamella, canamella, calamellus mellitus, sugar cane, from or confused with L. canna reed + mel, mellis, honey. See Cane.]

1. Chem.

Burnt sugar; a brown or black porous substance obtained by heating sugar. It is soluble in water, and is used for coloring spirits, gravies, etc.

2.

A kind of confectionery, usually a small cube or square of tenacious paste, or candy, of varying composition and flavor.

 

© Webster 1913.

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