Making Caramel Frustrated. Help?

Sugar Work By cholmberg Updated 7 Jul 2010 , 4:00pm by mkr85

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cholmberg Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 9:16pm
post #1 of 10

Ok. So I wanted to try to make caramels. I picked out a recipe
from epicurious and made it. . .and since I didn't know exactly
what color 'light golden amber' was. . .I erred on the side of lighter
rather than darker. I let it go to 248 like they said and it was light
colored and while it tasted good, did not set up. Caramel sauce.
Which was fine with the family, they gobbled it up with ice cream.

Today I decided to try again. I was brave. I had looked at pictures and let it go to the right color, then let it go to 250F on the candy
thermometer. At first I was excited because it seemed to be
setting up. . . . but two hours later, still a slow slide that would not
hold a shape. Not even good for candy apples as I think it'll just
slide off. So really, a very thick caramel sauce, I can roll it into a ball, but after a few seconds, it flattens and spreads.

What am I doing wrong? I'm following the directions scrupulously.
Is it because I live in a super high humidity climate? Could that
be a factor? Should I let it go well over the 248-250F and just
use the water test? I'm afraid of burning it or ruining it.

advice is appreciated. I'm a novice at working with cooked sugar,
but I really want to learn to make my own caramel candies.

9 replies
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cholmberg Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 10:28pm
post #2 of 10

I think I've pinpointed my problem . . .. candy thermometer is
75F off. That explains a lot.

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KathyTW Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 10:40pm
post #3 of 10

Isn't that the most frustrating thing ... I had the same trouble a year or so ago and it was a brand new thermometer!

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mommydearest1965 Posted 2 Jul 2010 , 10:44pm
post #4 of 10

Your altitude matters when using your candy thermometer.. The boiling point is different at different altitudes! Took me forever to figure out a fudge recipe until I learned that!!

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cholmberg Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 12:42am
post #5 of 10

I'm at sea level, I think from now on I'll use an instant read
digital thermometer as well as a candy thermometer to
try to judge how off it might be. I'm not sure how much it would change
the temps required. . .I know my grandmother used to gripe a
lot about trying to make divinity when the weather wasn't just
right. . .it wouldn't turn out. But the resulting caramels were
luscious and creamy, still a little soft. . I'll try again in a few days
to get a firmer one, when it's not a rainy day (and I go buy some
more cream)

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jqorso Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 9:34am
post #6 of 10

Here you go, no more guessing:

Microwave Caramels:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar

Mix all ingredients well in a glass bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 7 minutes (6 if you are going to dip apples). Allow to cool 5 minutes.

Then stir in:
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Pour into a buttered 8"x8" pan. When completely cooled, cut and wrap in wax paper.

I usually skip the cutting and wrapping bit in favor of a spoon and just eating it.

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cholmberg Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 1:59pm
post #7 of 10

Thanks! I'll give that one a try too!

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icer101 Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 2:10pm
post #8 of 10

hi, i save a recipe from this site, by jodieFShe is always giving out this recipe. She has great reviews on it. She also had it in the june issue of c/c magazine. I can,t wait to try it. Look that one up and see what you think . hth

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eatdessert1st Posted 3 Jul 2010 , 2:21pm
post #9 of 10

Here's a way to check the thermometer's accuracy. I always do this before making candies (after several infamous candy failures, anywayicon_smile.gif

Melanie Mc.

"Use and Care: More information - Altitude or variations in barometric pressure change the boiling point of liquids. To correct for this, check thermometer by immersing in boiling water (normally 212 degree F). If the reading, for example, is 204 degrees F, subtract 8 degrees from recipe temperature (or if 216 degrees, add 4 degrees). Dropping or rough handling can cause a shift in the thermometers' readings which can be compensated for in the same way. TIP: from Sugarcraft: We recommend to check boiling water temperature several times, even hourly during wet weather."

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mkr85 Posted 7 Jul 2010 , 4:00pm
post #10 of 10

I made caramels the other day and found them to be really hard to cut. I am wondering if I cooked them too long? The were pretty tough but not too tough to eat in my opinion atleast. Does anyone know if you can pour into molds or tips on cutting them?

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