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Troubleshooting Caramels


Elizabeth_11
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Anna - I've served a similar garnish on cakes here and it's relatively dry.But I still had to be careful about how I stored the pieces and how early they were placed on the cake. Having been in your country, I understand that the humidity will be a major issue (heck, I melted - never mind the sugar!). The only thing I can suggest is making the caramel and storing them in an air-tight container until you're ready to serve. B'hatzlachah.

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I wanted the texture contrast, but it ended up being painful in the mouth.  I've leaned toward tuile/cookies or other items for that reason.

Great idea! How long do tuiles stay crisp? Do they have a similar issue with humidity?

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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We've got that eGullet synergy happening here! Great idea Vanessa. How long would a tuile stay dry? Depends. I've done some that are more sugar based such as this one

gallery_41282_4652_19655.jpg

It stayed dry forever. But I've done others that are more like crisp, thin sugar cookies which would absorb the cake moisture. Either way, I would decorate right before serving to maximize the crunch.

Besides the mouth-hurt factor, I went in this direction because of the mouth-glue factor. I hate having my teeth stuck together.

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I am wondering if making a dry caramel ,would help with humidity issues.Probably not much ,but I was thinking that might be something you can use to keep the caramel from sticking.

I also doubt that it would make any difference, because whether you start from a very dilute syrup or from dry sugar, you're going to end up with the same amount of water by the time you get to caramel temperatures. Effectively all of the water will have been boiled off before the sugar will start to caramelize at ~320F.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Even if you boiled all the water out of the sugar mixture it wouldn't matter...just for the fact that the sugar pulls moisture from the air(hygroscopic) so it wouldn't matter what is still left in the sugar candy. It matters what the humidity of the air is...

Have a good one,

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If your kitchen is not well ventilated or air conditioned you may well want to try and do a dry caramel.

If I boil off a lot of water from a candy recipe the humidity in my kitchen goes up sharply as I do not have an extractor yet. It can make a big difference to my working environment and I have to keep a dehumidifier in the kitchen on high to try and get the extra moisture out of the air.

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  • 4 months later...

Let's say, hypothetically of course, that someone made caramels. Normally that someone would use a heavily greased non-stick pan, the bottom of which would be lined with silicone parchment paper, in which the caramel would set.

Now let's say that someone was too lazy to cut the parchment paper, and what the heck, it was a non-stick pan, so that someone threw caution to the wind and poured the caramel into an unlined, lightly greased non-stick pan.

So now how do you get the caramel out? It's pretty firmly stuck in there (hypothetically, of course). Using a plastic pie server, attempt has been made to pry it out, that attempt was unsuccessful.

Any ideas? Short of using a metal anything and ruining the pan. I'm thinking eat the caramel straight from the pan, but that's not very practical.

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Let's say, hypothetically of course, that someone made caramels.  Normally that someone would use a heavily greased non-stick pan, the bottom of which would be lined with silicone parchment paper, in which the caramel would set.

Now let's say that someone was too lazy to cut the parchment paper, and what the heck, it was a non-stick pan, so that someone threw caution to the wind and poured the caramel into an unlined, lightly greased non-stick pan.

So now how do you get the caramel out?  It's pretty firmly stuck in there (hypothetically, of course).  Using a plastic pie server, attempt has been made to pry it out, that attempt was unsuccessful. 

Any ideas?  Short of using a metal anything and ruining the pan.  I'm thinking eat the caramel straight from the pan, but that's not very practical.

Try putting the parchment on the counter and turning the pan over on top of it overnight. My caramel always continues to flow after I pour it so maybe it will flow slowly back out of the pan.

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Try putting the parchment on the counter and turning the pan over on top of it overnight.  My caramel always continues to flow after I pour it so maybe it will flow slowly back out of the pan.

I had already let it set up, so there's no pouring it out now. :sad: But I could try to reheat it to make it pourable again, and then try pouring it out.

I stuck it in the fridge, thinking that if it were hard, I could at least chip it out of the pan. I don't mind eating caramel chips at all! But if that doesn't work, I guess I'll just have to try reheating! Or eating it straight from the pan, which wouldn't be so bad because I wouldn't have to share any!

ETA: Refrigerating it worked! I think my caramel accidentally froze because my fridge is too cold. At first it didn't seem like it had worked, but I pried just a little more, and it came out in one piece! Whew!

But I think I still might not share. I love them too much! :wub:

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I cooked my caramels a touch too long. I know that if they are too soft, you can recook them to a higher temperature to correct.

But for caramels that turn out too hard, can you remelt, maybe add some cream, and cook to a lower temp?

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I have reboiled a hard caramel once before when it set too hard.

The reboil set fine and I thought I had rescued it but the caramel developed sugar crystals pretty quickly afterwards so I may not have melted it carefully enough or perhaps that may be just what happens when you try to reboil.

I would do it again but maybe add more liquid (I used water) and take it quite slowly.

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I cooked my caramels a touch too long.  I know that if they are too soft, you can recook them to a higher temperature to correct.

But for caramels that turn out too hard, can you remelt, maybe add some cream, and cook to a lower temp?

John:

I'm currently making caramel for a wedding cake and found the cooked caramel a bit more firm than I would like. I rewarmed the caramel in the microwave (so it didn't cook any further, just softened) and whisked in a small amount of cream.

Once the caramel cooled it was a great consistency to spread over cake layers.

I'm not sure if you have to recook the mixture for your purposes, though...

Good luck - Mary

Beaches Pastry

May your celebrations be sweet!

Beaches Pastry Blog

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John,

I've recooked many caramel by breaking it back up and adding 35% water to a pot. Cook as you normally would. Depending on the amount of inhibitor in the original recipe you can either leave as is or add 5-10% to prevent crystal growth. To be safe, you may also add 1-5% salt to balance out the sweetness level, and if added at the beginning of the cooking process will also aid in inversion of the sugars. Good luck.

Shane

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John,

I've recooked many caramel by breaking it back up and adding 35% water to a pot.  Cook as you normally would.  Depending on the amount of inhibitor in the original recipe you can either leave as is or add 5-10% to prevent crystal growth.  To be safe, you may also add 1-5% salt to balance out the sweetness level, and if added at the beginning of the cooking process will also aid in inversion of the sugars.  Good luck.

Shane

Thanks so much! I thought it might be salvagable. :biggrin:

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I know a firm caramel simply warmed to melt over water with a small amount of cream will set again when cooled and be softer. As for whether it causes crystalization to happen quicker, I don't know... I've only done that for dipping apples. Definitely works though, you just have to be careful with the cream. Too much in one batch caused some droopy looking caramel on the apples. Had that wrinkly, elephant-leg thing going on.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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John,

I've recooked many caramel by breaking it back up and adding 35% water to a pot.  Cook as you normally would.  Depending on the amount of inhibitor in the original recipe you can either leave as is or add 5-10% to prevent crystal growth.  To be safe, you may also add 1-5% salt to balance out the sweetness level, and if added at the beginning of the cooking process will also aid in inversion of the sugars.  Good luck.

Shane

Thanks so much! I thought it might be salvagable. :biggrin:

I did re-cook the caramel and voila! this worked like a charm! Thanks Ke Kau; you saved my bacon, um... caramel! :biggrin:

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have a couple of questions about caramel. :smile:

I have made Neil Wyles' delicious caramel sauce a number of times. One stick of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When that melts, you add a cup of light brown sugar and mix until the mixture peels away from the side of the pan. Finally, whisk in a cup of whipping cream and you're done (I always add a hearty pinch of Maldon sea salt, too).

The thing is, sometimes when I add the brown sugar, it incorporates itself into the butter, but other times, it will froth and then separate into clumpy grainy masses in a pool of melted butter. When this happens, it almost always comes together again if I add a tiny splash of whipping cream and whisk it in. What causes this separation reaction to happen half of the time and how can I make it stop?

I have had a similarly baffling experience with white sugar for my other caramel sauce recipe, which involves putting a cup of white sugar into a dry pan and melting it into an amber syrup before adding the butter. Sometimes, it works; other times, it goes very quickly from being a pale amber syrup to drying out and crystallizing into rock hard lumps.

I am confused because my results are so inconsistent. Any ideas about why this is so?

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I have a couple of questions about caramel.  :smile:

I have made Neil Wyles' delicious caramel sauce a number of times. One stick of butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. When that melts, you add a cup of light brown sugar and mix until the mixture peels away from the side of the pan. Finally, whisk in a cup of whipping cream and you're done (I always add a hearty pinch of Maldon sea salt, too).

The thing is, sometimes when I add the brown sugar, it incorporates itself into the butter, but other times, it will froth and then separate into clumpy grainy masses in a pool of melted butter. When this happens, it almost always comes together again if I add a tiny splash of whipping cream and whisk it in. What causes this separation reaction to happen half of the time and how can I make it stop?

I have had a similarly baffling experience with white sugar for my other caramel sauce recipe, which involves putting a cup of white sugar into a dry pan and melting it into an amber syrup before adding the butter. Sometimes, it works; other times, it goes very quickly from being a pale amber syrup to drying out and crystallizing into rock hard lumps.

I am confused because my results are so inconsistent. Any ideas about why this is so?

Sounds like the first problem is just that of an emulsion breaking. That can happen due to temperature differences between fat and liquid. All the same tricks that you use to get your emulsion back with any sauce may work, that could be stirring more vigorously, adding a bit of cream (as you discovered) or water might bring your mixture back into a mixture.

For the second problem - the lumpy rock hard lumps - just keep heating - they will eventually melt again.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Does anyone have a tried and true chocolate caramel recipe? I've been browsing online, and I found a recipe for Salted Chocolate Caramels on epicurious, and I also found what could be a very good recipe for Salted Butter and Chocolate Caramels from a blog, but blogs are blocked at work, so I don't know what this one looks like, yet.

Anyway, do either of these recipes seem like they'd make good chocolate caramels? I like Riesen chocolate chews, but I'd like to make something better (and I won't be coating them with chocolate, just eating them straight).

About the epicurious recipe, why should the chocolate be no more than 60% cacao? Would it really be so bad if I used 70% cacao chocolate?

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Does anyone have a tried and true chocolate caramel recipe?  I've been browsing online, and I found a recipe for Salted Chocolate Caramels on epicurious, and I also found what could be a very good recipe for Salted Butter and Chocolate Caramels from a blog, but blogs are blocked at work, so I don't know what this one looks like, yet.

Anyway, do either of these recipes seem like they'd make good chocolate caramels?  I like Riesen chocolate chews, but I'd like to make something better (and I won't be coating them with chocolate, just eating them straight). 

About the epicurious recipe, why should the chocolate be no more than 60% cacao?  Would it really be so bad if I used 70% cacao chocolate?

I have made the chocolate caramels from the Candymaking book by Kendrick. They were pretty good.

For Lior: I have added 3 ozs of 70% dark chocolate to the recipe I use for caramel filling. I think I added it at the end with the butter. It turns out quite tasty.

Mark

www.roseconfections.com

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