Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I have basically given up on dieting until January 1. I figure that even when I eat "right" I still have GERD episodes, and while the weight loss has been a fantastic side benefit of this new food lifestyle, I want to enjoy the flavores all of my favorite holiday foods. So, since coming back from New Orleans I've been working on an "everything in moderation" philosophy that seems to be working out okay. Except for the weight gain. In two weeks I've added 3.5 pounds. Not cool. Not cool at all. What is cool, however, is getting to eat some of my favorite holiday treats.

While at Whole Foods the other day I saw a package of six caramels for $10. Now, I love caramel. LOVE IT. But I don't love paying $10 for six tiny bites. So I decided to hit up the blogosphere and find a recipe I could make myself. Now, let me preface this by saying I've never made my own candy. I am not what you'd call a dessert maker. I can throw together a mean savory meal but I fall apart when it comes to cooking sweets. It's something about all the exact measurements that throws me into a tailspin. This effort would not be without its trials and tribulations but in the end I think I made something that was quite, quite tasty.

First, I found two recipes from some of my favorite food bloggers that looked promising, but then I noticed that one of them called for corn syrup and we don't eat that crap in this house. I chose the one from Two Tarts because it looked the simplest (ie, most foolproof) and because I had all of the ingredients readily available.

The first steps were a cinch!

Please excuse how dirty and gross my stove is.

Unfortunately I ran into some trouble when it came time to pour the molten hot sugar out onto a pan for cooling. You see, I apparently don't know the difference between wax paper and parchment paper. Or rather, I do know the difference but I didn't think it would matter much, especially as some other recipes online said I could use wax paper if I didn't have parchment. I believed them, much to the detriment of my caramel.

As soon as the molten hot liquid hit the wax paper it made this strange hissing sound. I immediately imagined the wax melting into the caramel, but I soldiered on.

I added some high falutin' Celtic sea salt that I bought after a Paleo blogger said this was the only salt she uses. It's good, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure how it differs from Fleur de Sel. I'm sure you could use either. Just don't use table salt or kosher salt. That's not exactly what we're going for here.

I put the caramel in the fridge to cool for ten minutes, at which point I realized that yes, it was completely stuck to the wax paper. I flipped the sheet over and used the blow dryer to warm it up which allowed me to remove some of the caramel in thin sheets so that they looked like the original recipe. But I'd say that was only about 1/8 of the total haul. When Alan got home we heated the whole thing up over the vent for the oven while baking chicken and then proceeded to scrape all of the caramel off with my fingers. By the time I was done a giant pile of ooey-gooey caramel was sitting in front of me and my hands were a sugary mess. Obviously I have no pictures of this to share but trust me when I said this was not a pretty thing to witness.

We ended up rolling the caramel into shapes that somewhat resembled balls, set them on a brown paper bag, and then topped them with more salt. We put them back in the fridge to cool, and now they're actually kind of not so hideous looking.

Okay, maybe a little hideous looking.

But I swear to you THEY TASTE GREAT. Seriously wonderful. I'm considering making up another batch and giving them away to family on Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. I'm also trying to get back on the diet bus with WW, but this time of year is not helping at all. Waiting until Jan is probably a smart decision. And oh dear - my mouth is watering just thinking about salted caramel...


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