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tammylc

Flavored Caramels

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I am adding my question on making a "dry caramel" to this thread as the subject came up earlier--earlier meaning 2007 in this case!

 

When making a dry caramel (just sugar and glucose), does one have to be concerned with washing down the crystals that form on the sides of the pan?  I know this is common practice with a "wet caramel."  I have found that by the time I have eliminated as many crystals as possible from the sides of the pan, the caramel has gotten too dark.  I end up labeling my ganache "burnt caramel" out of necessity.  In the case of an apple caramel, I want a caramel that is fairly light in color (and taste) so as not to mask the apple flavor.

 

So do I just not worry about the sugar crystals, hoping they will be melted when the heated cream is added?  Or if it is necessary to keep washing down the sides, how do I get a light caramel?

 

Thanks for any help.
 

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Jim,

I have the same experience; dark sugar syrup, but I don't use corn syrup or glucose. One thing I've done to lighten it is to move the dry sugar as much as possible by shaking the pan. This heats all the sugar at once and therefore it all melts quicker. I hope someone will chime in with a better answer for you.

Tom

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I am not overly experienced with caramel but this is how I do it. I take great care because I dont want the caramel to crystalize later on due to a sugar crystal. I use glucose and sugar, flame is rather low (patience is a virtue), I do not touch it, I place a lid on the pot after a bit of time when it starts turning golden, with a little bit of water in the lid, so the steam willl take care of the crystals stuck on the sides if there are any. I use low flame so the glucose doesnt burn before all the sugar is caramelizing. At some point I turn the flame higher and then lower again to speed up the process a bit. 

Caramel
caramel whisky filling.jpg

Filled shells
caramel filled.jpg

Ready:
caramels done.jpg

up close
caramels 6.jpg


Edited by Lior (log)
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Got a couple requests at the shop yesterday for a bacon-flavored, chocolate covered caramel.  While I remain puzzled with this whole 'bacon-ized confection' thing, I'm intrigued at the prospect of trying it out with a caramel. Has anyone had a successful experience with bacon-caramels?  (It sounds strange asking  such a thing, but- its all about the customers- not me.)

 

My initial thought is to use my regular caramel recipe, and sub in some rendered bacon-drippings in place of a portion of the butter. Not sure that would give enough bacon-flavor. So, I am thinking--once the caramels are enrobed, crushing up the fried bacon and using it in place of the sea salt flakes as a garnish.  A second variation on this is to make a batch using peppered bacon.  Any thoughts, advice, and/or warnings would be most appreciated!

 

Lior....those caramels look delectable! :+) 

 

Andrea

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Thank you Andrea! I cannot help you on your quest for bacon flavored caramel  :wink: but wish you success at working it out. The combos people come up with!!

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By the way, my understanding about using glucose or corn syrup is to invert the sugar and keep it from crystallizing. One can invert sugar with an acid; lemon, vinegar, cream of tartar... But if one is caramelizing the syrup to make caramels, the crystallization doesn't seem to matter since you're going to add liquids to it afterwards. In other words, I don't see the reason to use glucose or corn syrup when making caramels. Anyone want to correct me? Please do if I'm wrong. It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last.

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Got a couple requests at the shop yesterday for a bacon-flavored, chocolate covered caramel.  While I remain puzzled with this whole 'bacon-ized confection' thing, I'm intrigued at the prospect of trying it out with a caramel. Has anyone had a successful experience with bacon-caramels?  (It sounds strange asking  such a thing, but- its all about the customers- not me.)

 

My initial thought is to use my regular caramel recipe, and sub in some rendered bacon-drippings in place of a portion of the butter. Not sure that would give enough bacon-flavor. So, I am thinking--once the caramels are enrobed, crushing up the fried bacon and using it in place of the sea salt flakes as a garnish.  A second variation on this is to make a batch using peppered bacon.  Any thoughts, advice, and/or warnings would be most appreciated!

 

Lior....those caramels look delectable! :+) 

 

Andrea

 

Your initial thoughts are spot on. I use 2/3 bacon drippings and 1/3 unsalted butter by mass in place of unsalted butter in my standard caramel recipe and have gotten rave reviews. My first attempt used full strength bacon drippings instead of butter and it was too oily. Bacon inside the caramels was also no good as it ruined the texture. Your best bet would be to use drippings and butter in your standard recipe and coat with minced bacon after enrobing for presentation.

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I wonder if using the seasonings/flavorings used in bacon would also give the caramel that taste. I read up that it is the smoked hickory or something that gives bacon that taste. I wonder if I should try liquid smoke in a batch of caramel...

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A question on flavored caramel filling for chocolates:  How much liquid (fruit purée or liquor, for example) can one "get away with" adding at the end of the process? Liquid needs to be boiled away for caramel to reach the proper temperature, and obviously there would be no chance for that to happen with added liquid.

 

As I discussed previously in making Wybauw's pineapple caramel, the pineapple flavor is best when some fresh purée is added at the end, but more than a little, and the caramel is too runny. I would also like to add some dark rum to this caramel. I have experimented with this recipe to the point where it works satisfactorily: I add simmering cream to the hot caramel, heat it to at around 250F/121C, then add the simmering pineapple purée, which causes the temp to drop to around 220F/104C, but it doesn't take too long to get it back up to the desired final temp (around 234F/112C). This two-step process keeps the pineapple flavor from cooking away too much and doesn't give the fruit long enough to scorch. Today, in order to be able to add some extra liquid at the end, I went to a final temp around 238F/114C, then when the mixture had cooled, added a few teaspoons of fresh pineapple (I didn't try rum today). The caramel has now cooled and is at a perfect consistency, but I am looking for any suggestions on how far I can take these additions--or how high I can take the caramel/cream mixture before adding the pineapple (since it's not possible to eliminate the temperature drop when the purée is added). The recipe has 280g sugar, 70g glucose, 160g cream, 185g pineapple, 65g butter. I doubt that there is a mathematical calculation that would give an exact answer, but would be happy with a ballpark figure which would keep me from having to do endless experiments to find out.

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3 hours ago, Jim D. said:

A question on flavored caramel filling for chocolates:  How much liquid (fruit purée or liquor, for example) can one "get away with" adding at the end of the process? Liquid needs to be boiled away for caramel to reach the proper temperature, and obviously there would be no chance for that to happen with added liquid.

 

As I discussed previously in making Wybauw's pineapple caramel, the pineapple flavor is best when some fresh purée is added at the end, but more than a little, and the caramel is too runny. I would also like to add some dark rum to this caramel. I have experimented with this recipe to the point where it works satisfactorily: I add simmering cream to the hot caramel, heat it to at around 250F/121C, then add the simmering pineapple purée, which causes the temp to drop to around 220F/104C, but it doesn't take too long to get it back up to the desired final temp (around 234F/112C). This two-step process keeps the pineapple flavor from cooking away too much and doesn't give the fruit long enough to scorch. Today, in order to be able to add some extra liquid at the end, I went to a final temp around 238F/114C, then when the mixture had cooled, added a few teaspoons of fresh pineapple (I didn't try rum today). The caramel has now cooled and is at a perfect consistency, but I am looking for any suggestions on how far I can take these additions--or how high I can take the caramel/cream mixture before adding the pineapple (since it's not possible to eliminate the temperature drop when the purée is added). The recipe has 280g sugar, 70g glucose, 160g cream, 185g pineapple, 65g butter. I doubt that there is a mathematical calculation that would give an exact answer, but would be happy with a ballpark figure which would keep me from having to do endless experiments to find out.

Think you might be forced to do the endless experiments.

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Very funny, Kerry, but you are the one who seems to enjoy endless experiments. I was looking for examples from the experience of others who add flavorings at the end.

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@Jim D. While I am only on my second of batch of caramel this year, my original formula called for vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste.  So what I was thinking is....if you are going for pineapple flavor, and I am unaware of any type of pineapple "paste", are you okay using an extract/flavoring like LorAnnOils Pineapple Flavor? That stuff is amazingly strong and the flavor is quite true.  So, perhaps using a bit of puree, along with a teensy bit of flavoring might eliminate some of the liquid.

I wonder if you can reduce pineapple juice like you'd reduce an ale?   I did that with a pumpkin ale a couple years ago, and it was marvelous. Couldn't believe how much flavor came through the caramel! So maybe a slow cooked fresh pineapple juice might yield a nice concentrated flavor.

Just a few thoughts. 

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@ChocoMom, Thanks for those ideas. I'm glad to hear that the pineapple oil tasted "true," since I have had some unsuccessful purchases of similar products. Once when I was working on apple flavor, I bought 3-4 products (all of which tasted like the chemicals they were probably made from) until I found a French green apple "essence," which really works.

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On 2/13/2017 at 5:15 PM, Jim D. said:

@ChocoMom, Thanks for those ideas. I'm glad to hear that the pineapple oil tasted "true," since I have had some unsuccessful purchases of similar products. Once when I was working on apple flavor, I bought 3-4 products (all of which tasted like the chemicals they were probably made from) until I found a French green apple "essence," which really works.

@Jim D. I've had similar experience with apple flavorings tasting more like chemicals. Do you mind sharing the name of the French essence you found?

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@Daniel D I don't know the brand name. The product is sold in small bottles (I assume from larger containers imported from France) by La Cuisine, and most of the ones I have tried I like very much (apple, pear, apricot). I heard of the place in Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible, where she writes of the apricot essence from this shop, and I then discovered the other flavors they carry. According to Rose (and who would question her?), they are "steam-distilled." 

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With regards to the crystallization factor that everyone seems to stress over, I find it is much to ado about nothing...for the most part.  I am way too lazy to constantly brush down the sides of the saucepan so I skip that step.  Now, what I find to be the most important part to preventing crystallization (at least for me anyway) is to make sure everything is clean and spotless from the very beginning.  Pots, tools, sugar does not have any foreign objects hanging out in there, etc.  I find if I follow those things, watch the heat, AND do not scrape the sides of the pot, I never have to worry about crystallization.  

 

When my students are working with caramel, the number one thing they do to ruin it is not watching their heat and scraping the sides of the pot.  You scrape the sides of the pot and reintroduce the sugar stuck there, the caramel in the pot will oftentimes "follow the leader" and start forming crystals.  Game over from there.  And other times, they do not clean out the pot very well before they start their caramel and the foreign object causes it to crystallize.  Of course, it may vary for you all, but something to think about if you are having issues with sugar crystallization.

 

Hope some of this helps.

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On 2/14/2017 at 11:53 AM, ChocoMom said:

I wonder if you can reduce pineapple juice like you'd reduce an ale?   I did that with a pumpkin ale a couple years ago, and it was marvelous. Couldn't believe how much flavor came through the caramel! So maybe a slow cooked fresh pineapple juice might yield a nice concentrated flavor.

Just a few thoughts. 

 

I make a blood orange and cardamom caramel and use pure juice that is reduced down until it's about honey consistency. It gives an intense and delicious blood orange flavour.

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