Remember this Project Wedding Dessert Bar Series post on bourbon spice and fleur de sel caramels? I am thrilled and honored that BlogHer asked me to share my caramel recipes with the millions of BlogHer Food readers!
Please head on over to BlogHer.com and check out my post, in addition to the many other fabulous recipe- and food-related posts shared on their site by incredible bloggers! Right now, they’ve also shared a lot of great holiday ideas if you’re still scrambling to pull things together, from gifts to crafts to meals.
I’m not trying to fool you. I know you’ve seen me make caramel before, and in step-by-step detail. But not with bourbon and Fall spices.
For wedding dessert bar purposes, I kept up appearances by making about 400 of my standard fleur de sel caramels. I had to, or there might have been an Occupy Dessert Bar movement. Seriously. People get passionate over burnt sugar with salt, at least in my family.
But for my own creative purposes, I wanted to try something a little different. Something infused with Autumn. Something boozy. Bourbon spice caramels were born.
After pulling out all ingredients, I re-focused on exactly how much butter was going into this dual caramel candy-making escapade. A lot.
As in that entire stick plus 2 tablespoons of butter below was only one eighth of the amount. Granted, no one was going to eat a butter stick’s worth of caramel in one sitting, but some might come dangerously close.
I looked away from the butter and cream mixture and started working on the separate pot of soon-to-be-burnt sugar.
Instead of the water used in my original fleur de sel recipe, I used bourbon here. I’m not sure if that’s how the pros do it, as I admittedly made this up as I went. And even when I looked online later to validate my in-the-moment decisions, all I found were bourbon caramel sauces. Not helpful since they don’t cook at nearly as high of a temperature.
Anyway, beyond the crazy amount of butter, I also went through two entire 10-pound bags of sugar … (more…)
Growing up, we didn’t make plates full of questionable-quality cookies for Christmas. We made candy. Toffee, fudge … you name it, and my mom probably taught me how to make it. She taught me the importance of patience, precision, and consistency – all of which are essential to making quality candy and doing many other things, like surviving law school, succeeding in the workplace, and communicating effectively in a relationship. I could go on for days with this metaphor, but I won’t. Suffice it to say that I once burned a pot of boiling sugar and butter that would have been toffee, and I haven’t turned my back on the stove (while cooking candy, at least) ever since.
Making candy is also one of the financially cheapest gifts you can make as a starving college student law school student post-J.D. Bar/Bri student, but it requires paying some attention to detail (perfect for future attorneys!) and investing a tad more time (love?) than picking up the first gift that speaks to you at Macy’s. Because candy-making is a bit more involved (though, actually, much faster and cheaper – and impressive!) than your average birthday, graduation party, or holiday baked goods, I can guarantee that it’s worth the effort to make and worth the cost of a candy thermometer, which you can pick up at your local grocery store or on Amazon for $10 or at a more fancy-pants store like Sur La Table for $30.
Also, because most people I’ve talked to about homemade candy seem to squirm with anxiety about the thought of making toffee or caramel at home, I’m presenting this recipe in a photo-narrative style that’s quite a bit more specific than a mid-week throw-together fried rice recipe needs to be. Thanks to my mother, I’ve been making candy ever since I was tall enough to stir a pot on the stove, so trust me when I can say that you can do this. Let’s get started …
First, you need some heavy cream.
And a hunk of butter.
Better put those together in a cute little pot, (more…)