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Caramels: Why does it crystalize?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 excelsior

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 05:52 AM

I coat nuts (Macadamia & Pecans) in caramel and then cover them in chocolate, after about a week, the caramel begins to crystalized and has more of a fudge consistence... :unsure: a few days after that they are actually crumbly :sad: whats going on? Are my ingredients in the wrong proportions?
My caramels left without nuts stay soft... like forever. :wacko:

Edited by excelsior, 20 November 2003 - 07:02 AM.


#2 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 06:26 AM

Not wanting to be too nit-picky (referring to the Unpalatable Words thread), it is

CARAMEL - not Carmel (that is a town in on the California coast).

Secondly - can you tell us what your caramel recipe consists of? How do you make it? That is the best way for us to determine what is happening, scientifically, to your candies.

#3 excelsior

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 07:08 AM

3 cups corn syrup
14 oz. condensed cream
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cream
1.5 cups butter
5 cups sugar

it takes about two hours of stirring to keep this from burning and putting flecks of brown throughout the mass... usually pull it off at 239 degrees & throw in 2 t vanilla and pour it out...

(Maybe they cristalize cause I can't spell) :laugh:

Edited by excelsior, 20 November 2003 - 07:10 AM.


#4 GG Mora

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 07:51 AM

usually pull it off at 239 degrees & throw in 2 t vanilla and pour it out...

I've made several succesful batches of Fleur de Sel caramels using a recipe either from or adapted from Alain Ducasse. The recipe specifies that the caramel should be cooked to 248°. Maybe undercooking is the problem...perhaps the sugar is more stable in the mix when cooked to a higher temperature.


Edit: spelling.

Edited by GG Mora, 20 November 2003 - 07:52 AM.


#5 GG Mora

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 07:55 AM

Also, in rereading your recipe it occurs to me that that's an enormous quantity to be making without commercial/professional equipment. Two HOURS? Chances are, you'll never get it hot enough. Or maybe you're already using commercial equipment and I'm just FOS. :hmmm:

#6 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:21 AM

Also, in rereading your recipe it occurs to me that that's an enormous quantity to be making without commercial/professional equipment. Two HOURS? Chances are, you'll never get it hot enough. Or maybe you're already using commercial equipment and I'm just FOS. :hmmm:

That was exactly my thought - excelsior, I'm curious, are you doing this for fun or as a profession? Not that it should make a big difference, but I am also curious about the potential for doing such a large amount on a home stove that might not have enough BTUs.

If doing it at home, perhaps a smaller-portioned recipe is in order.

#7 elyse

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 09:39 AM

Are you sure there are NO crystals of sugar around the pot or on the nuts when you coat the sugar? Even one crystal will ruin the entire batch.

#8 excelsior

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 10:01 AM

I'm doing this for fun (although in order to get the chocolate I have to tell some of my sources I'm a business). I make them for my (5) kids :raz: teachers at school and friends at church. In rural western NY (yes... not all of NY is a city) most people have never had fine chocolates and they are raved about.

Elyse... the caramels that I don't put nuts in stay like you expect caramel to be... so I don't think it is sugar in the making process... also Macadamia nuts turn quicker and are much more crumblier than are the pecans :blink: but both turn. :wacko:

#9 elyse

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Posted 20 November 2003 - 10:22 AM

I asked if there was sugar on the nuts.

#10 rookie

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 08:05 PM

For what it's worth when I was in a chocolate making course I asked the same question of why my caramel crystalizes so quickely. My teacher's response was to remove 30% granulated sugar and add 30% glucose. I tried it and it really did work. If you do try it please let me know if it works for you. Maybe try a smaller batch incase. Good luck.

Mary

#11 mkfradin

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 04:15 AM

And in my chocolate course, the instructor used a tiny bit (maybe a teaspoon or two) of lecithin to delay crystallization in his caramels. You can find it in a natural foods store.

#12 rookie

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 12:41 PM

Actually yes, I have also heard of using lecithin. Would this be in the powdered form?

#13 FistFullaRoux

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 01:16 PM

It seems like the nuts may be the problem. You might want to try some kind of barrier between the nuts and the caramel. Some pro candymakers will use a thin layer of chocolate or sugar that has been cooked to the hard crack stage. Cool the covered nut (or fruit or whatever) completely. It sound like somehow moisture is migrating from the nuts to the caramel. Humidity and moisture can make a caramel go funky.

Macadamias and pecans have a fair bit of oil. Especially if they are roasted. That may somehow be interfering with the natural aging process of the caramel. Also, sometimes older nuts will behave differently that fresh ones. You may want to try getting ahold of some fresher ones and see if that makes a difference.

Edited by FistFullaRoux, 01 December 2003 - 01:18 PM.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.

#14 nightscotsman

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 08:04 PM

Lecithin is an emulsufier that helps keep the butter from leaching out and forming a greasy coating. I don't think it will help with the crystalization. I agree with the glucose (or corn syrup) suggestion. Also some form of acid will keep the caramel from crystalizing, but will affect the flavor. The recipe we use in class for some caramels includes a bit of sorbitol which the instructors say will help preserve freshness and the smooth texture.