Goldilocks and the Three Batches of Caramels

Ahhh December baking… steeped in tradition. I love revisiting recipes I’ve made every year since I was old enough to hold a spatula. But this winter I’ve held off on the old favorites until I’m back in Minnesota, choosing to concentrate my efforts on new recipes instead.

Enter caramels. I tried to make a yummy-sounding recipe from Annie’s Eats. And I failed. Then I tried again. And failed again. I finally got the good sense to calibrate my candy thermometer and learned it was reading 25 degrees lower than the actual temperature, leaving me with batches of crunchy toffee instead of chewy caramels. Mystery solved.

By this point I was low on both patience and heavy cream. So I went to bed.

The next morning I woke up with a determination to master those caramels (or ELSE), but I was out of cream and had no desire to make another traumatizing trip out to Stop ‘n’ Shop. So I used the next best thing: eggnog.

Lo and behold, a recipe was born.

Thank god it was a success. I don’t think my self-esteem or spatula would’ve had the strength to attempt another batch.

I knew that gravy boat would come in handy...

Eggnog Caramels

I use lactose-free eggnog so everyone can enjoy these delicious caramels!

  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. kosher flake salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water

Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick foil.

In a small saucepan, combine eggnog, butter, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve sugar. Boil (without stirring, but swirling the pot every so often) until mixture has reached a light golden caramel color.

Slowly pour the eggnog mixture into the corn syrup mixture, stirring constantly. Be careful; the mixture will rise up and bubble violently! Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan and simmer the caramel on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 245° F. Remove from heat and pour into foil-lined pan.

Let cool for about 2 hours and then cut into pieces.

Makes 64 caramels.

Source: A Lingonberry Jam original.


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