I was considering titling this post spiraling out of control, but then thought better of it. Kind of negative sounding, and misleading too.
It's true that it's a busy time of year. There are out-of-town friends passing through for a visit and we're leaving town ourselves for the holidays. There's also a strong possibility that I've bitten off a few more projects that I can comfortably chew. In fact, I'm working through a rather large mouthful in another window right now (God bless open apple + tab).
Fortunately there's also...
...sweet 'n spicy pretzels and rosemary raisin pecan crisps
...nanaimo bars and shortbread
...clodhoppers and ginger caramels
...and (I hope) some sour cream twists on one of those holiday mornings in my not-too-distant future.
Speaking of hope, please head on over to Chez Pim to learn more about this year's Menu for Hope, which runs December 14-25.
Until next year,
The Casual Baker
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
It occurred to me, while unwrapping my 6th or 7th caramel of the day just now, that this business of packaging caramels individually in little squares of waxed paper is completely unnecessary.
You measure and slice...
...wrap wrap wrap and twist twist twist...
(which, incidentally, is harder than it looks. 40 caramels later and mine still looked lopsided.)
...only to reverse the whole process when the fancy strikes.
(if you're me, that's soon and often.)
Where is the sense in that?
1 cup whipping cream
5 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated with a microplane zester
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Line an 8-inch square pan with lightly greased parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter and ginger. Heat on low-medium, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is about to boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Heat on medium, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. From this point on, avoid stirring and instead gently swirl the pan every so often. Increase the heat and boil the mixture until it is golden in colour.
Reduce the heat and immediately stir in the cream mixture (the contents will bubble up quite high). Simmer, stirring frequently, until the caramel registers 248 degrees Fahrenheit (about 10-15 minutes). You may have to increase the heat slightly to achieve this temperature, but do so slowly over time.
Pour the caramel into the prepared baking pan. Cool at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Cut the caramel into 1-inch pieces and wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting the ends to close.
Yields about 40 caramels.
Notes: If ginger isn't your thing, simply leave it out. The world will remain intact. Promise.