Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Chocolate Caramel

Recipe from Tops in Toffee: Nilda Molina Miller’s quest for perfection in confection
By Vesna Vuynovich Kovach
Brava magazine, January 2008
Column: Around the Table

Caramel is cooked at a high enough temperature that the crystals of its cane, corn and milk sugars break apart -- “caramelize” -- and reform as toasty brown, creamy goodness. It’s an easier project for the home cook than toffee, which cooks far hotter.

1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir thoroughly. Add corn syrup. Stir. Gradually add milk and stir until all ingredients are mixed well. Add chocolate, stirring constantly until completely melted. Continue to let the mixture come to a boil, stirring constantly. You may have to wash down the sides of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent the sugar from crystallizing.

Place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook until it reaches about 246-248° F (the “firm ball” stage), depending on how firm you like your caramel. Remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the caramel into a baking pan lined with parchment paper, allowing extra paper to fold over the sides of the pan. Cool to room temperature. Lift the parchment paper with the caramel out of the pan. Cut the caramel into squares and enjoy as is, or dip them in the chocolate of your choice.

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