I am fat and so can you!

People have asked for it over and over and I am finally sharing it! It’s not that I meant to withhold it from you, it’s just that…well, I’m lazy and hadn’t gotten around to typing it up.
So, without further inane babbling, let me share with you my recipes for ginger caramels and espresso caramels.
I did a bunch of research on caramels and honed the basic ratios down to this:
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream (not ultra pasteurized)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter
If you use unsalted butter you might want to throw a pinch of salt in there. I use salted butter. You want to know why? Because I like it, that’s why!
I used to spend a lot of time in cooking newsgroups and forums and one thing above all else is true in any focused community: everyone has an opinion and they will be an asshole to the death to defend it. If there is one lesson I’ve learned over and over again in this great journey of going crazy and coming back again it’s that people’s opinions are a lot like their assholes, something you know to exist but you don’t really have to spend a lot of time thinking about. I use salted butter, I will put out a cheese platter before a meal with fish and I like bbq sauce on my ribs.
Okay, back to the caramels.
I recommend at least doubling this if not quadrupling or hectupling (sixtupling? 6xing?). It is much easier to control the temperature on a larger batch and you might even find that your candy thermometer won’t get an accurate read because it cannot be adequately submerged.
If you are making espresso caramels you will want 2 shots of espresso for every iteration of the base recipe. Today I made a quadruple batch so I had 8 shots of espresso in there. Mix your espresso, butter, cream, sugar and corn syrup together in the pot.
If you want to make ginger caramels you will want to make ginger syrup first. Ginger syrup goes like this: calculate out how much sugar you will need for your caramels (4 cups if you are quadrupling, etc) and dump that in your pot, with water at a 2:1 sugar to water ratio (the ratio doesn’t need to be super accurate). matchstick about a quarter hand of ginger for every cup of sugar, no need to peel it. Add the ginger to the sugar water and bring to a rolling boil (a rolling boil is a boil that is not diminished by stirring) and then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the ginger out of the liquid and save to snack on later.
Put the ginger syrup into your pot with the butter and cream and corn syrup and then go on to the next step.
You’re going to want to use a big pot, like the big pot you boil pasta in. As this mixture starts to boil it expands like my ass at Thanksgiving. Cleaning the pre-caramel boil over mess from your stove is a job that sucks so bad that even terrible people feel bad about making nice people do it! BIG POT!! Use a BIG POT!!!
So you have everything in your BIG GIANT POT! bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Some people say that the heat can be turned all the way up for this, but I have found that when I have the heat on high for the initial boiling I tend to find scorched remains on the bottom of my pot. Could be a correlation not causation things, I don’t know, I use medium heat. Once the mixture is at a boil do not futz with it. You will want to futz with it, you will want to maybe stir it or shake it or mess with it. Don’t. Leave it alone. You will notice blops of protein scum forming on the surface and you will want to futz with those. Do not futz with them. they will be reabsorbed. DO NOT FUTZ!
At this point there is not much for you to do, you just let it boil and bubble away. Liberally butter a jelly roll pan and set aside. Then I recommend loading or unloading your dishwasher and maybe thinking about your butt for a while.
The mixture will stay at 212 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius for a long time. It will stay at that temp so long as there is water to be cooked out of the mixture. Once it starts rising above 212/100 degrees f/c you’ll want to keep a close eye on the thermometer.
Candy thermometer or that ice water thingy for measuring the temp of the mixture? If you are comfortable with the various stages of the ice water method (soft ball, firm balls, soft crack, hard crack, whatever) then by all means go for it. I find it to be futzy and I am never sure if I am doing it right so I stick with a candy thermometer.
Once the mixture hits 248 degrees Fahrenheit/120 degrees Celsius remove from heat and pour into your buttered pan. You’ll want to move quickly to get this off the heat and into the pan because it’s only a few degrees between chewy caramels and crunchy caramels (which are equally delicious, just harder to chew). I let them cool and set over night. When you’re ready with hundreds of little wax paper rectangles you can get down to the business of cutting and wrapping the individual candies, a repetitive and thankless activity that nonetheless makes distributing the caramels amongst your friends and family easier.
Please be careful when making caramels. This mixture gets hot, really really hot and sugar, especially very hot sugar, sticks to your skin. The burns hurt like hell and they hurt for a long time. Be careful!!!
Be careful and be delicious!

2 thoughts on “I am fat and so can you!

  1. Would you please send me one espresso caramel so that I can taste it and decide if I want to make a batch? Thank you. Joan

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