The Perfect Project For a Sunday AfternoonAugust 10, 2009
Jumping from blog link to blog link I came across Dinner with Julie and a browse through her recipe index lead me to an intriguing sounding Brown Rice Muesli. My favourite meal of the day is breakfast, I often go to bed thinking of my morning porridge and would eat breakfast foods for every meal if I could. Stays in hotels are all about the selection of goodies on offer in the morning – you can keep your eggs and bacon, pastries and muffins no matter how decadent or perfectly cooked, for me it’s all about the cereals on offer, the selection of dried and fresh fruit and if there is the possibility of mixing my own combination, piling the ingredients high and adding plenty of yoghurt then I’m the happiest girl in the room. The Brown Rice Muesli didn’t take my fancy but the recipe was coupled with one for Fleur de Sel Caramels. I’ve been treated recently to some wonderful salted caramel ice cream but have never made anything like it myself.
After the ganache disaster of the previous post that necessitated a mad dash to the shops for extra ingredients, I was left with a fair amount of spare double cream and the caramels were a perfect way to use it up, I had plenty of golden syrup and it seemed like a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
I’m not sure that I managed the recipe successfully as I had nothing to compare it to, I aimed for the ‘firmer chewy caramels’ but still found them quite soft. They also melted easily at room temperature (although the afternoon I took them into work was warm) I struggled to remove the foil so popped them in the fridge overnight and it came off fairly easily in the morning, the chilling also helped when cutting them into bite size chunks. I think I underplayed the salt, I’m an absolute salt fiend and was wary of making them to my taste. I didn’t do the second dusting as suggested in the recipe and think I was a little conservative overall. There was no way I was going to wrap each one in greaseproof paper but mini muffin cases were a perfect alternative to pop them into. The feedback was good and they were great fun to make – fascinating to watch the caramel boil away and the smell was divine!
1 cup golden syrup
Line the bottom and sides of a 9″x9″ baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil.
Combine the syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. (If you like, add a couple drops of lemon juice to prevent crystallization – I was fine without.)
Wash any sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes.
Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more if it needs it. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook uncovered, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 305°F.
Meanwhile, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan (add grated nutmeg first if you’re making the nutmeg version); turn off the heat and set aside.
When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful.
Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally at the beginning to more frequently at the end, until the mixture reaches 260°F for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F for firmer chewy caramels.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for an hour or so, until slightly firm but still tacky. Sprinkle the surface lightly with flaky salt, pressing gently to help it adhere if you need to. Leave for another 3-4 hours, or until firm.
Invert the sheet of caramel onto a dry cutting board or sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the foil and if you like, sprinkle the other side with more salt. Cut the caramels with a large, sharp knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.