Sunday, January 3, 2010

SMS - Chocolate Cream Caramels

Yay, the SMS baking group is back. Thanks to Jeanette of The Whimsical Cupcake for picking this week's SMS recipe, Chocolate Cream Caramels. I was going to sit this one out as I have more sweets in the house than furniture :o), but the thought of sitting out the first SMS recipe of the year just didn't sit right with me.

Make-shift 5" x 4" pan using Reynolds non-stick foil, sprayed with non-stick spray. Used Ghirardelli's unsweetened chocolate for the caramels.

The caramels need to set before being cut. Guess who gets to lick the spatula? I call it quality control :o)

Boy, am I glad I made these, even though I only made a 1/4 of the recipe. The unsweetened chocolate cut right through the intense sweetness of these caramels. After a 4 hour rest in the cool basement, they were perfectly set. Cutting them with the chef's knife was a breeze. Instead of wrapping them in wax paper, I put them in paper candy cups which gave them an elegant look.

A quarter of the recipe yielded 25 pieces. That's enough to eat *and* share with friends!

Put caramels in paper candy cups and you're ready to serve! Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby, who normally doesn't like caramels, liked these a lot. The chocolate flavor came through very well.
  • I took the caramel off the heat at 248 F degrees, per the recipe. This produced the perfect consistency in my opinion; not too soft, not too hard.
  • Instead of honey, I used amber agave nectar.
  • I asked myself, what would make these awesome caramels, even more awesome? A bath in melted chocolate! These would give the store bought candy, Riesen, a run for its money.
  • Next time, I might add coarsely chopped (and toasted) almonds to the caramel.
  • For the recipe, please visit Jeannete's blog at The Whimsical Cupcake.
  • As always, don't forget to check out the SMS blog roll.

17 comments:

  1. Your caramels look beautiful. Love the paper cups! So much easier than wrapping them, which I did. I thought these were wonderful!

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  2. Your caramels look so professional! I have just started using agave nectar and thought about that instead of honey and am glad to know it works well in this recipe.

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  3. The caramels look very good! Im sad I missed this one But I seriously could not bake or have one more fattening thing in this house. I didn't have anyone to share with so I decided not to bake this week.
    I love that you dipped them in melted chocolate..perfect idea! Who knows you may have to enter this on in the fair!

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  4. Wow, these look so professional. I think that toasted almonds would make a great addition!

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  5. Great job on the caramels - they look perfect! I put mine in little paper cups too because otherwise I found they stuck to one another way too much. Happy New Year :)

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  6. Delicious looking and very professional presentation - they could have come from a candy store!

    :)
    ButterYum

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  7. Your caramels look perfect! Love being in quality control! It's the best job ever! :D

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  8. Your caramels look terrific! My house is the same way with sweets right now - way too many, but I couldn't resist making these either. Glad they were a hit!

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  9. Those caramels look absolutely perfect. I love how pretty and shiny they are. I wrapped mine in waxed paper, which was convenient for gifting purposes, but it takes away from the lovely shininess of the candy. Nice work!

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  10. Yum! I just ate the last of my batch, and now I'm sad that they're all gone! Happy New Year!

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  11. Hello dearie!

    Oy vey, how I've missed you! We REALLY need to catch up- I know I keep saying that, but I seriously have to make it happen! Things have been crAAAAAAzy, and I've just been really under the weather. But I didn't want to miss the year's first SMS recipe (I got my post up a little late, but I DID make my own batch of caramels... NOT as beautiful as yours are though- seriously, you should open up a candy store attached to your bakery! And when you do, I'm volunteering for the position of assistant baker/sous pastry chef) I made sure to check back a few posts too, because I was dying to sneak a peak of your new kitchen. Which is GORGEOUS btw. I am SO beyond jealous, I can't even tell you. I LOVE all the finishes you chose... the maple and granite complement each other perfectly, the colors are lovely, and that backsplash is another fabulous example of your amazing and creative artistic vision. I am super tempted to book a flight to Minnesota and make my way to your doorstep... don't worry, I'll be just fine sleeping on the kitchen floor, taking in the new view hahaha! You know you're always welcome in my sad little culinary workspace, too! I just have to get you to Boston, and then we'll be in business!

    I have some reading to do to get caught up with all your recent baking... you didn't waste any time breaking in the new digs, huh?... but everything looks DELISH, as always.

    So how were your holidays? Did you have a good New Year? I'm so excited to start another year of baking together, and continue building our friendship. I feel SO lucky that we met through SMS, and know that we're gonna have lots of fun in the year to come :)

    Sending you much love from Massachusetts! Hope all is well with you and the hubby! Can't wait to hear from you hun- please let me know how you're doing when you get a chance!

    Talk soon,
    Joy

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  12. wow... now i REALLY wish I'd stuck with it until 248!! Thanks for the calibration tip, I'll definitely try it.. but I'm guessing it's more my fault than the thermometer's doh.. glad yours turned out so nicely!! x

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  13. Awesome-- your caramels are prefect! Love your make shift pan.

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  14. those look perfect! so jealous

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  15. Hanaa: these look fabulous! And yes, coating them with chocolate seems like a great idea...

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  16. yum, these look delicious and so pretty!

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  17. I just realized that I never commented on this!! What was I thinking? :) It's been busy for me after the holidays, so bear with me.

    But I'm SO glad that you liked these as much as I did!!

    My ingenuity idea: make the honey cream caramels into a thin-ish layer and surround it with the chocolate cream caramels, then dunk in tempered chocolate. You think we could market those ;)

    Anywho, I'm glad the hubby liked these as well!! Yours surely look elegant and tasty. I think I'll be making some more tonight!! :D

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