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Hard, Chewy Caramels: ISO a Successful Recipe

Confections

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11 replies to this topic

#1 Mjx

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 05:09 AM

I'm looking for a recipe that yields caramels that are chewy, but quite hard.

 

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting with friends, and one of them was in a candy-making mood, so we decided to make some caramels and marshmallows.

I suggested David Lebovitz's salted butter caramel recipe, and from my perspective, the caramels were an unqualified success, but although my friend did like them, she said 'They're good, but too soft'; she had in mind a sort that is popular in Denmark, which approaches toffee for hardness, but is still unquestionably chewy. These may have a special name, although I don't know of one.

 

I believe that reducing the amount of cream/butter mixture would do the trick, but would prefer to start from a reliable recipe, if anyone has one to recommend.

 

Thanks!


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#2 pastrygirl

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 10:00 AM

Just cook them to a higher temperature. If the candy is very soft after cooking to 250F, it will be fairly firm around 255F, and pretty hard at 260F.

#3 Mjx

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 10:23 AM

Thanks, pastrygirl! The recipe already demands 260F, and it probably went a bit over, since I forgot to pull the pot off the heat when the syrup hit the right stage. For this recipe, the result was my idea of perfect caramels, firm and chewy, but not hard. Would reducing the relative amount of dairy accomplish the desired result?


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#4 Kerry Beal

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 07:35 PM

I wonder if what you are after is toffee - like the Mackintosh toffee I would get as a child?  You'd smack the bar on the counter - it would break into bits and you'd suck the bits until they became softer and chewier in your mouth.  

 

Here is one recipe.  



#5 Mjx

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:55 AM

Thanks Kerry! What I'm looking for is not toffee (as I noted, it lacks toffee's brittleness), but a very hard, yet plastic caramel.

 

Think 'consistency of a very hard rubber' (yeh, I know, way to make it sound super-appealing), and you'd about have it.


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#6 Kerry Beal

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 07:21 AM

We need to get Chocolot involved in this one - she's the caramel guru.



#7 Chocolot

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:07 AM

Did I hear my name? You are trying to turn a caramelized sugar caramel into something hard, and I don't think that is the right approach. Do a Maillard caramel and over-cook it. That is what most people do accidentally! Any recipe should work, just cook it 10-15 degrees F higher than called for. Remember your altitude adjustment if there is one. 


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#8 Pam R

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 03:19 PM

I wonder if what you are after is toffee - like the Mackintosh toffee I would get as a child?  You'd smack the bar on the counter - it would break into bits and you'd suck the bits until they became softer and chewier in your mouth.  

 

Here is one recipe.  

 

 

Thanks Kerry! What I'm looking for is not toffee (as I noted, it lacks toffee's brittleness), but a very hard, yet plastic caramel.

 

Think 'consistency of a very hard rubber' (yeh, I know, way to make it sound super-appealing), and you'd about have it.

 

Slabs of Macintosh are bendable when fresh . . a little on the hard side, but not brittle. . . At least not the ones I've had.  Once you start chewing on them, they are very close to hard rubber. . . chewy yet delicious.  It's been a couple of years since I've had any, but they sound like what you're looking for (to me).



#9 Mjx

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 01:21 AM

Did I hear my name? You are trying to turn a caramelized sugar caramel into something hard, and I don't think that is the right approach. Do a Maillard caramel and over-cook it. That is what most people do accidentally! Any recipe should work, just cook it 10-15 degrees F higher than called for. Remember your altitude adjustment if there is one.

 
Thank you! David Lebovitz's caramel recipe involves first cooking the syrup to 310ºF (155ºC), then adding a cream mixture, and heating this base to  260F (127C). If the temperature is increased by 10-15F, to which step would that temperature increase apply? Possibly both?

 

Regarding maillard caramel, how does that differ from a caramelized sugar caramel? Do you have recommendation for a reliable online source for a maillard caramel recipe? I searched in the eG database, but didn't find anything. I know I can find plenty of recipes online, but my lack of experience with candy-making means I wouldn't necessarily spot the duds, so site suggestions would be tremendously appreciated.

 

Slabs of Macintosh are bendable when fresh . . a little on the hard side, but not brittle. . . At least not the ones I've had.  Once you start chewing on them, they are very close to hard rubber. . . chewy yet delicious.  It's been a couple of years since I've had any, but they sound like what you're looking for (to me).


Thanks, and I now realize that I really should investigate the sweets my friend was thinking of. The ones she mentioned are a commercial product that I really should hunt up, so I can take a look at the ingredient list. Just because they're apparently caramels doesn't exclude the possiblity of the ingredients/production having much in common with traditional caramels or toffee.


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#10 keychris

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:19 AM

I'm not sure if this is what Chocolot means, but I would think it's cooking the sugars in the cream and butter. Here's a recipe I've used for this method, using a depositor

 

375g sugar

300g glucose syrup

75g water

500g cream (35% fat)

3 vanilla beans

50g butter

50g honey

5g salt

 

cook sugar, water, glucose to 145C

heat cream and scraped vanilla beans to boiling point

whisk the butter, honey and salt into the sugar syrup to stop cooking process

add boiling cream to syrup in 2-3 additions, maintain temperature >110C

Cook to 121C

Deposit into flexipan molds.

 

This produces quite a firm caramel that is still chewable.

 

HTH
Chris



#11 Chocolot

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 07:18 AM

Yes, keychris, that is what I mean. Cooking it together you are caramelizing the milk sugars, not the sugar. It is what you think of at a stand-up caramel--slow cooked. Maybe that is a better explanation----fast cooked or slow cooked caramel. I will post a simple recipe temp adjusted for what I think will work for what Mjx is looking for. It can take as short of time as 45 minutes or several hours if you turn it to low. The longer it cooks, the darker it will be. The reason for pouring in the cream in stages is to keep the mixture from boiling over the pot. If you have a large enough pot, you can add at once. Just cook it slow enough that the milk solids get a chance to turn brown (Maillard reaction). If it is up to temp and you want it darker, just add a little water to bring the temp down and let it climb again.

 

GOLDEN CARAMELS

 

2 cups whipping cream

½ cup milk

1 ¼ cups light corn syrup

2 cups sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.  In a 4-cup glass measure, combine cream and milk.  In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, combine 1/3 of the cream-milk mixture, corn syrup, sugar and salt.  Place over low heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until mixture turns a light tan color.  Increase heat to medium and insert thermometer.  Without stopping the boiling, slowly add ½ of remaining cream mixture.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Add remaining cream and cook to 255* Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. 


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www.chocolot.com


#12 Mjx

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 02:18 AM

keychris, Chocolot, thank you! I'll be giving these a bash, and report back.

 

By the way, I picked up a packet of the caramels I'd mentioned previously, and as I suspected, gum arabic is in there, so structurally, they're an entirely different sweetl. Might be worth investigating, at some point.


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