Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: The World of Caramels!


It's crazy caramel time! This months Daring Bakers Challenge is all about Caramels! I was very excited about making the caramels but a little nervous if the cupcakes with the caramel frosting would be too sweet but my guinea pigs loved them, they said the cupcakes were dense but good and the frosting made it! The guys at work were taking two at a time and we ran out super quick!

I was sooo excited to make the caramels but in my excitement I added way too much sea salt! But I fixed it by covering them in melted chocolate (some melted chocolate chips and butter) - they were like ghetto Riesens - they were delicious!!!!

Thank you to Shauna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater for her signature caramel cake. Also, thank you four our wonderful Daring Bakers hostess Dolores and her helpers Alex and Jenny

I couldn't find any Golden Syrup but Jane came to our rescue and found a recipe from Recipe Zaar. The recipe makes 3/4 C so I had to double it.

I can't wait to see all of the delicious recipes!














CARAMEL CAKE WITH CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

10 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 Cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 Cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter one tall (2 – 2.5 inch deep) 9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


CARAMEL SYRUP

INGREDIENTS

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelization process)

DIRECTIONS

In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

CARAMELIZED BUTTER FROSTING

INGREDIENTS:

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light


GOLDEN VANILLA BEAN CARAMELS- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

INGREDIENTS

1 cup golden syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

EQUIPMENT

A 9-inch square baking pan - I used an 8 inch
Candy thermometer

PROCEDURE

Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the 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, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. 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. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 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 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.


GOLDEN SYRUP

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon water
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Directions

1. Put sugar in a small heavy pan and shake pan so the sugar is in an even layer.
2. Sprinkle it with vinegar and water.
3. Cook over low heat, without stirring, for 5 minutes.
4. Increase heat to medium and cook until syrup has taken on a light caramel color, 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Immediately remove from heat and pour in the corn syrup. DO NOT STIR, but let it bubble for 2 to 3 minutes. When the bubbling stops, stir well.
6. Pour into sealed container. It can be stored at room temperature for several months.

7 comments:

Speedbump Kitchen said...

Great job, the chocolate caramels sound great!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Two at a time sounds like they were a success! Great job!

gail said...

Chocolate salted caramels? I don't know if it gets any more perfect than that ...

Sheltie Girl said...

You did a wonderful job on your cup cakes. I love your caramels too. Great idea to dip them in chocolate.

Natalie @ Gluten A Go Go

Claire said...

Looks great! The caramels with chocolate sounds wonderful.

Allergy Mom said...

Chocolate covered caramels? Wow. I'm drooling a little just thinking about them...

Debyi said...

Your cupcakes sound like they were great! I can't wait to make the caramels, hopefully for Christmas.