Few things woo me back into the kitchen like candy making. Not only is it fun and delicious, when making candy I always have this devious, subversive feeling come over me. As though I've thwarted some natural law by bringing the special, highly rationed substance CANDY into existence with my own humble hands.
This probably stems from my childhood, which was one of gross candy deprivation.
Well not really, but when you're a pint-sized sugar addict, even reasonable dietary restrictions tend feel like anything but. So when little Ms. Humble discovered it was possible to MAKE candy at home and it required neither money or parental permission, I felt liberated.
A weekend of chores for a mere candy bar? As if! Restrictions because I just happened to leave a half gnawed Sugardaddy from Halloween in the couch cushions? Haha! I knew I could make my OWN candy. Tons of it!
Never mind that I lacked a heavy bottomed pan, a thermometer or any fear of molten sugar. I was free. I was a sugar rebel.
|True rebels wear butterscotch bandoliers|
Tons of it!
Alright fellow rebels, let's rock and roll.
Note: These candies require some patience, so be prepared to clear an afternoon to make and individually wrap them . You may be tempted to speed up the process by making the caramel and marshmallow simultaneously, and of course you can do that. However, minding the multiple pots of bubbling sugar, rapidly rising temperatures, a double boiler and a whirling mixer will require excellent multitasking skills.
Not So Humble Caramel Wrapped Marshmallows
yields "tons of it"
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream*
1 cup light corn syrup**
1/2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
generous pinch salt
*In almost all my baking, I use 40% minimum milk-fat cream. This cream can be found in the large warehouse stores like Costco, restaurant supply and some gourmet food stores. If you're not able to find this ultra rich cream, you can substitute regular heavy cream, just look for the highest percentage of fat you can get your hands on (30-40% is sufficient).
**Or liquid glucose. You may also use invert syrup.
This recipe is a modified version of my fleur de sel caramels with a few adjustments (I've omitted the vanilla and added some salt to highlight the butterscotch notes of the caramel). See the comments from that page for helpful hints regarding this recipe and candy making in general (particularly the bit on thermometer calibration).
Lightly butter a 18" X 13" sheet pan, or a large marble pastry stone.
In a large heavy sauce pan (the caramel will more than triple in volume, so you need plenty of space) over medium heat combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and one cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon, bring the mixture to a boil. This will take some time. Don't be tempted to turn up the heat, candy requires patience.
Once the mixture boils add the remaining cup of cream in a slow trickle so that you do not cool your caramel mixture and it continues to boil uninterrupted. (This is a good rule of thumb for adding any cool liquid to a hot sugar syrup in candy making, as a rapid reduction in temperature can result in a hard mass suddenly forming in your pan.)
Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to boil for 5-6 minutes without stirring.
Add butter one tablespoon at a time, stirring after each melts. Clip on your candy thermometer and allow to boil over medium-low heat until the mixture just hits 250°F (Firm Ball stage) stirring occasionally. This should take about 30-40 minutes; if your temperature is climbing too quickly you might need to reduce heat all the way to low. By the same token, if you're not hitting 250°F by 40 minutes you might want to increase the heat a bit.
Once you've hit the right temperature, quickly remove from heat and pour into your prepared pan or onto the greased stone slab, spreading it out in an even layer. To prevent any crystallization, don't scrape the pan as you pour, just allow what clings to the pan to remain in it (you can scrape it into a smaller dish and eat it later, odds are it won't be crystallized). Allow your molten caramel to cool to room temperature.
While the caramel is cooling, go ahead and start on the marshmallows.
I'm using the blog's peppermint marshmallow recipe as the filling for these candies since they are particularly soft and luscious. Of course, I am substituting a teaspoon of vanilla for the mint oil. You can also use your favorite vanilla marshmallow recipes for this, provided it produces enough marshmallow to fill either a 13x9" or a 9x9" pan roughly 1" deep.
Follow the recipe posted here, omitting the mint oil and adding a teaspoon of vanilla to your stand mixer after adding the hot syrup.
Spread the marshmallow batter into a lightly greased 13" x 9" casserole. Allow the marshmallows to cure for about an hour before running a knife around the pan and releasing the sheet of marshmallows.
Cut the sheet into roughly 1" strips. If handling the sticky marshmallow irks you, simply dust it lightly in a mixture of half powdered sugar, half rice flour to remove stickiness.
By now your caramel should be completely cool. Cover a large surface or cutting board with a few pieces of waxed or parchment paper and, depending on how wide your marshmallow strips are, cut the caramel into sheets of similar width. If the caramel seems a little too thick for your tastes, you can flatten the sheet with a rolling pin before cutting.
Roll the caramel firmly over the marshmallow. Once it is encased, cut away the excess. Pinch the edges together and then wrap the caramel marshmallow log in waxed paper and place in the refrigerator to chill. Repeat until you've used the entire sheet of caramel.
Then break out your sharpest knife and begin cutting the log into equal pieces. Be sure to eat the end scraps immediately, this is an important quality control step.
Arrange single layers of caramel covered marshmallows between sheets of waxed paper and chill before wrapping (this makes them firmer and easier to wrap and handle, but be sure to eat them only at room temperature). Wrap individual caramels in waxed paper, parchment or cellophane to prevent sticking. The caramel may appear firm and solid but it is still a fluid. It will eventually conform to whatever shape your wrap it in, so if you want it to maintain the cube shape, wrap it carefully as a cube and pack them tightly side by side. If you don't, no worries. Sure, there is a chance they'll end up looking like these but hey, If See's makes them like that, there is absolutely no shame in a lumpy caramel wrapped marshmallow.
The caramels are best eaten within a week, but will keep for up to two weeks well wrapped and sealed in a air tight container stored in a cool spot.
Now I'm off to pack up half of these to send to Mr. Humble's lab because they're just too dangerous to have around here.