Monday, December 16, 2013

Candy Land

Okay, so these are the caramels I blogged about, the ones that don't scare me any more, the ones I served at our Christmas party last night.  The ones you all ate - not a one left.  Huge hit.  Happy hosts.  

The best parties are when all the food gets devoured with smiles and requests for recipes, when you actually get to talk to people, and when a few friends linger for the after-party, sending you go to bed completely worn out with a big smile on your face.  And when you wake up to chests and tables laden with hostess gifts, and an email note from a friend, "Oh, I forgot and put chocolate under the tree - please go get it before the dog discovers it."  I was sooooooooo tempted to write back, "Chocolate gone.  Dog dead."  but altho I think wicked thoughts I seldom act on them.  Plus I really like this dog...and this friend.

Bourbon-Sea Salt Caramels
Bon App├ętit  | December 2013

yield: makes about 100 caramels

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Special equipment:
A candy thermometer

Lightly coat an 8x8" baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2" overhang on 2 sides; spray parchment.
Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and whisk in sweetened condensed milk and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth. Fit pan with thermometer and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thermometer registers 240°F. Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon and kosher salt. Pour into prepared pan; let cool. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt, cut into 3/4" pieces, and wrap individually in parchment paper.

DO AHEAD: Caramels can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store wrapped tightly in plastic in airtight container at room temperature.

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