The Perfect Hostess Gift: Homemade Caramels

“Have any of you made caramels before?” the teacher asks. The majority of us shake our heads and share our minimal experience with sugar work.

But just an hour later, after a crash course in caramel-making from the kind and sweet (pun intended) staff at Le Dolci, we all feel like pros.

You may think of caramels as the gold-wrapped treats your grandma kept in a crystal dish in the sitting room, but it’s time to reconsider! Presented the right way, they make a wonderful hostess favour and can be fun to make with your kids and grandkids. Try one of these three easy recipes from Le Dolci this holiday season and get the family involved!

 


caramels
Soft Chewy Salted Caramels

1 cup 35% cream

1/4 cup butter

2 tsp salt (for unsalted caramels, 1/4 tsp)

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla paste (vanilla extract works, too)

 Line a baking sheet or baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

 Warm cream and butter together and add salt (melt butter completely) and set aside.

 In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine water, sugar and corn syrup. Be careful not

to splash sugar up the sides of the pot.

 Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and let steam build up inside the pot. Take a peek inside and once temperature reaches up to 200 you can take the lid off.

 Remove lid and cook caramel to 250 F – 275 F.

 Whisk in cream and butter mixture (be careful not to splash hot caramel) and cook to 245 F – 250 F.

 Quickly whisk in vanilla and pour caramel into prepared dish, let cool.

 Let cool, cut into desired size and wrap in waxed paper. Keep in airtight container.

Next: Recipe for English Toffee

English Toffee

1/2 cup water

1 cup butter

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup corn syrup

150 g dark chocolate (1/2 cup) (chopped or chocolate chips)

White chocolate for drizzling

 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

 In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine water, butter, sugar and corn syrup. Be

careful not to splash sugar up the sides of the pot.

 Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover and let steam build up inside the pot.

 Remove lid and cook toffee to hard-crack stage (300 F – 310 F).

 Working fast, spread the mixture on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with chocolate.

 When the chocolate is melted, spread it out evenly; drizzle with white chocolate.

 Let cool and shatter into bite-sized pieces. Keep in

airtight container or sealed bags for up to two weeks.

Next: Recipe for Seafoam Candy

Seafoam Candy

1/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 tbsp baking soda

Chocolate for decorating, melted

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, combine water, sugar, corn syrup and vinegar. Be careful not to splash sugar up the sides of the pot.

Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover and let steam build up inside the pot.

Remove lid and cook candy to hard-crack stage (300 F – 310 F).

Working fast, whisk in baking soda. Spread foamed mixture out on prepared baking sheet.

Let cool and shatter candy into bite-sized pieces. Dip in or drizzle with chocolate. Keep in airtight container for up to two weeks.

If you’re looking to give the gift of learning, Le Dolci offers an array of classes from cake decorating to croissant-making.