Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Carmel Battle 2011

PhotobucketSometimes when there are important things to worry about, I instead throw my thoughts into something else, something silly, but usually rewarding. Case in point: the carmel battle of 2011. Remember that picture I posted a few weeks back? That little jar of carmel made me really, really happy. It tasted like the carmel from Apple Hill, near my hometown. My mom has sent me a carmello (marshmellow in the middle in a big, heavenly blob of perfect carmel) most years since I moved away from home and that little treat wrapped in wax paper is one of my favorite treats of the year.
Well, I was so excited about my successful carmel outing that I tried to make some to give to friends and family. I followed the same recipe and the same steps (I thought) but each batch came out a little bit crunchy. Or too salty. One day I consumed about half my original jar trying to figure out where I'd gone wrong-- tasting "wrong" carmel, tasting "right carmel" repeat about 10 times, heavy on the right carmel. ugh. It became a little bit of a sickness and one day I was actually sad in the afternoon because I couldn't win the carmel battle. I took a week off to recover from my crazy.

Today, I decided I was allowed to try one last time and I promised myself that if it didn't turn out I was retiring from carmel forever. Neither of my kids were napping, even though they woke up in the neighborhood of 5:30 a.m., so I thought resuming the carmel project would be better than freaking out over naps. Well, folks it worked. We have a nice little jar of creamy and just-right salty carmel in the fridge. I feel a bit ill from licking the spoon and the pan and checking the sauce too many times. But at least I won the battle. And, my kids still haven't napped, but no one has yelled or talked grumpy, not once, and that my friends is a miracle.



  1. Was the final max temperature of the caramel the secret?

  2. Well, Kevin, there was no temperature checking, just color. What I learned is that I needed to start out with more water to dissolve the sugar in over medium heat. I think my final batch was 1 cup water, 1 1/2 cups sugar. Then, keep it on medium heat, maybe medium high until it turns amber color (no stirring). Wisk in cream or evaporated milk (1 cup) that has been microwaved 45 seconds and then cook for a few more minutes on med-low to let it thicken a bit. Pull off heat, add a bit of butter and salt and voila. I think mine was crunchy because the sugar wasn't completely liquified when I turned it to high.

    I vow to bring your pan to church in January!

  3. I figured it was being held ransom for some culinary cook off, kind of like ocean's 13 but with food and in a small town.

  4. That made me smile! I remember reading your original post and thinking how delicious that looked, but I didn't think I could turn out that many bottles of good caramel. Candy is so fickle! ;)

    My kids just went to Apple Hill for the first time a couple of weeks ago and Natalie caught her first fish there. I didn't even know they HAD fishing! Jacob walked for an hour, looking at trees, and was still sad when it was time to stop. They keep asking to go back.

    Happy New Year!!


    1. Tamie! I can't believe you get to take your kids to my childhood haunts! fun! Did you get any carmel? I hope it's a new, fun family tradition for your sweet family!