I don’t really know what came over me. I’m not normally a candy maker in any sense. A candy eater, yes – I have a wicked sweet tooth – but the furthest I’ve ever really gotten with candy was to once make chocolate-covered strawberries. Although they were nice and definitely cheaper than the store-bought variety, they also didn’t look as pretty and seemed to be a lot more trouble than they were worth.
But I ran across this recipe for Spiced Apple Cider Caramels on Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, and for some reason I had to make them. Maybe it is the miserable, un-summery Seattle cliche weather we’ve been plagued with lately* that moved this recipe off the “I might make that eventually” pile and onto the “I must make this right now” pile.
I made them, and liked them, and as soon as they were cool enough to cut and sample, offered one to The Child, who tasted it, spit it out, and pronounced it “Too sweet!”
They were a bit sweet, but so easy to make, I thought, well, maybe I can find a way to cut the sweetness, or a slightly different recipe that she will like more.
The next morning, as we were getting into the car to go to school, she announced she needed to bring something for a class party – first I’d heard of it, and although she balked, I packed up almost all of the caramels and sent them with her. Next time, tell me a couple days ahead.
On the way home later that day, The Child announced that her whole class thought I had made the most amazing caramels ever in the history of the universe, and also, did I know they’re even better frozen?
And I was off to the races. On the way home, we stopped to pick up some frozen orange juice, so that I could attempt this recipe for Orange Caramels.
These were really good too – soft and sweet and lightly citrusy.
I had an urge to make more, and I didn’t disagree with The Child: The sweetness was good, but I wanted something a bit more sophisticated. I’ve always preferred limes to lemons, grapefruits to oranges. I thought perhaps I was beginning to understand the rage for salt on caramels, which, as with so many food fads, kind of snuck up on me and made me a little irritable.
But then I found this recipe for Pomegranate Caramels with Almonds and Kosher Salt over at Vanilla Garlic, a blog I’d never heard of before but will be checking often now. His recipe takes a different approach, using brown sugar rather than the corn syrup of the others.
The recipe uses Alton Brown’s recipe for pomegranate molasses, which doesn’t give off the most pleasant aroma when you make it – until you get to the end.
I’m not sure what I did, exactly, because my caramels are a bit harder than Vanilla Garlic’s appear to be. But they are chewy when eaten and have an oh-so-deliciously marvelous sour and salty flavor. The toasted almonds add a nice crunch.
I’m excited for future experiments with caramel candy making. Vanilla Garlic mentions a recipe for Blood Orange Caramels that has me so excited I can hardly wait for blood orange season. Another blog I ran across demonstrates a technique for Lavender Scented Caramels that seemed intriguing.
What I learned today: Making caramels is not hard at all.
Food fads are not all bad.
This is my sticky contribution to Weekend Cooking, hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Why not swing by and see what other temptations await?
*Lately? More like always.
Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook says
Wow, you really ran with it and did three! I’m really impressed because any time I try to make candy I have a tendency to burn it badly. Your caramels look fantastic. I’d really love the caramel with almonds.
Beth F says
I am not a huge sweet eater, but I like good caramels. I just recently tried salted caramels (bought from candy maker) and liked them. Perhaps you’ve inspired me to try my own …
Oh, my sweet tooth is calling!
So impressed!!! The fact that the kids like them is great – kids would TELL you if they were not good – they are not polite like us! Therefore, these MUST be amazing!
I think the orange ones are the prettiest!
I have a TBR list for my book blog…I need a TBC (to be cooked) list. Well, I will pin them; that is a good TBC technique I’ve heard.
This will be a great rainy day project with the kiddos!
I pin all my recipes too – its a great way to keep track on things I want to cook or craft … Eventually!
Great creativity. Have a super week.
TBC, love the idea. Will definitely be adding this to my list. Thanks.
I always thought making caramel candy would be too hard! I think my BF would love these!
Angelia Sims says
Oh my gosh! That looks sooooo super yummy! I have a wicked sweet tooth too. And caramels especially….My dentist, however, is not a fan.. :0(
Peggy Ann says
How elegant! I never have luck with candy and just don’t attempt it anymore but there is nothing like homemade caramels!
I’m glad the caramels were a hit! I haven’t attempted to make them, but I have done caramel sauce, and you’re right – it is pretty simple. I’m going to have to go over and check out Vanilla Garlic (it seems like a blog I should be following). Thanks for sharing your caramel adventures!
You were not only ambitious but also adventurous! Love the flavor combinations. I think the lavender one sounds really good! Wow. I’m so impressed. And yes.. now craving caramels.