So it was pouring with rain the other weekend and I had a massive craving for some soft caramel. There is just something about the chewy caramel bits that get stuck in your teeth. I guess that explains my immense love for Milk Duds, no seriously. A couple of years ago, a friend and myself went to New York and I was tasked by my brother to bring back a couple of boxes of Milk Duds, lets just say quite a few trips to the Hearshey’s Times Square store were made… at least four.
Whenever I talk to people about sugar, or caramel, they seem to be disheartened or apprehensive. There is a fear that caramel is this big boiling melting pot of lava, and to be honest, it is kind of true. I have the scars on my hands from my chef days to prove it. But just with anything, if you are in control, there is nothing to fear.
I have a couple of tips when it comes to working with sugar and caramel
- Use a high-sided pot because it can spit
- Use a instant read, or digital thermometer as they give the most accurate reading
- If adding cream, make sure the cream is at least warm. If cold, the sugar will turn into a fiery demon, and it can also seize the sugar, turning it into a rock hard clump
A little story about using a digital thermometer, if it falls into the pot, it WILL melt. I know this from experience.
Soft Caramel Toffee
60g Butter, Unsalted
170g Castor Sugar
170g Soft Brown Sugar
75g Glucose Syrup (Corn Surup)
1) Line a 9×9 baking tin with baking paper, ensuring that the paper goes all the way up the sides of the tin
2) Over a medium heat, melt the cream into the butter. Keep the cream and butter warm for later
3) In a high-sided saucepan, place the sugars, glucose, and water. Heat over a medium heat until the mixture darkens in colour. Using a sugar thermometer or a digital thermometer, heat the sugar mixture until it reaches 121ºc. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching the base of the pot as this will give a direct temperature, not the temperature of the sugar as a whole. Remember to never stir the sugar mixture as this can promote crystallization of the sugar.
4) Once the sugar has reached 121ºc, remove from heat and whisk in the cream/butter mixture.
5) Return the caramel to the heat and re-heat back to 118ºc. As before, do not stir.
6) Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the baking paper lined tin. Let caramel overnight
7) Once set, cut into desired size and enjoy