Thursday, March 6, 2008

Butter Rum Caramels

What is caramel?

Caramel the candy, dulce de leche, carmelized sugar, cajeta. They’re all variations of one another, some with an added dairy product (cream, milk or butter), cooked to varying degrees of stickiness or hardness based on sugar percentage and temperature.

What is Rum? Well that one’s easy. It’s fermented sugar cane juice with the label ‘Flor de Caña’! made here in Nicaragua. Ok, that’s not the only rum in the world and it’s probably a little more complicated than that to make, but for all purposes here in Nicaragua, it’s the only one that exists.

Put them together and what do you have? Terrible deliciousness.

This is one recipe I really did follow just as I was supposed to with two small modifications.

First, I added half of the sugar as white and half as brown to minimize a grainy texture.

Second, we don't have candy thermometers here at the orphanage! While I tried to estimate by putting a drop of it in cold water to see how hard it gets, that method apparently takes a little while to get the hang of. The first batch turned out soft and gooey, as in more like caramel sauce than caramels. This second batch turned out a little hard, more like penuche, brown sugar fudge than caramels. I suppose that means I need to make a third batch so it will turn out just right!

Although all the candy has disappeared quickly, so it certainly doesn't affect the desirable taste!

Butter Rum Caramels from Epicurious

Vegetable oil for greasing
2 cups packed light brown sugar (14 oz)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy or deep-fat thermometer

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and oil parchment.

Bring brown sugar, cream, butter, salt, and 1/4 cup rum to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until butter is melted, then boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 248°F (firm-ball stage), about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and remaining teaspoon rum. Pour into baking pan and cool completely until firm, 1 to 2 hours. Invert caramel onto a cutting board, then discard parchment and turn caramel glossy side up. Cut into 1-inch squares.


Tracy said...

Those look delicious! Great job!

Kevin said...

That looks so good!

Anonymous said...

Does all of the alcohol burn off in this recipe?

Nicole said...

While there are too many factors to know if alcohol truly burns off 100% chemically speaking, but the taste does have a light rum flavor.