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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am not good with making candy; if I do the recipe has to be simple or it won't turn out. I found a recipe for stove caramels that doesn't require the use of a candy thermometer.

The original recipe calls for 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, one 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk, 3 tablespoons light corn syrup, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Butter and sugar are placed into a saucepan until butter has melted, and sugar dissolves. You add the remaining ingredients and cook until deep golden in color, and caramel has pulled away from sides of the pan.

Want to do a gingersnap flavored caramel. Have made slight changes to the recipe-added 3 tablespoons molasses, use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar, and added spices and fresh ginger. Would these changes mess up the caramels? Will they still turn out and set up?

Also don't want the caramels to be really soft; would like them to be similar in consistency to store bought ones. However I don't want them rock hard either. For firmer caramels should I increase cooking time? If so, by how much?
 

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I am not a candy maker but my Grama was. I think you need to follow the recipe pretty much exactly for it to turn out.Also, the weather ( humidity) plays into if some candy sets up right( divinity comes to mind) I would find a recipe that already includes the flavors you are wanting and cook it exactly as directed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've been doing some research and according to what I've found the sole purpose of corn syrup in a recipe is to inhibit the formation of sugar crystals. According to some reading I've done on the internet you can use cream of tartar, and it will more or less do the same thing.

This is another recipe I've found that is closer to what I'm looking for....

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Butter an 8-inch square pan. If you like, you can then line the buttered pan with foil and butter the foil.
Melt butter in a large microwaveable bowl (microwave for about 1 minute).

Stir in the corn syrup, both sugars and sweetened condensed milk. Continue stirring until most of the sugar is dissolved.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes and 10-15 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Return to microwave and cook on high for another 3 minutes 15 seconds. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour immediately into the buttered dish.

Allow to sit for several hours until cooled and set. Cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper.

Notes

Two cooking times of 3 minutes each (6 minutes total) should give you a caramel that is quite soft. Three minutes and 10-15 seconds each time should give you a slightly firmer caramel, but it all depends on your microwave. I recommend erring on the side of softer caramels and starting with a shorter cooking time until you figure out your own microwave.

Pretty much the only modifications I'd make would be using half corn syrup and half molasses, and above mentioned spices. I don't see how the addition of dry, ground spices would mess it up. If I were to add the cream of tartar would it turn out?

Unfortunately the only other option would be molasses caramels, and I can't find a molasses caramel recipe that doesn't require the use of a candy thermometer. Like I said, I'm not good with candy-making, so I'd prefer to keep it simple and easy.
 
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