Monday, December 17, 2012

Dark and Stormy Caramels

I love caramels and I love Dark and Stormy Drinks. For those of you who do not know a Dark and Stormy is a delicious drink made with Goslings rum ( a delicious spicy rum made in Bermuda) , ginger beer( Ginger beer is like really strong ginger ale but does not contain any alcohol), and a twist of lime. This is one of the classic sailors drinks back at the regatta party.
Now to the caramel part! As delicious as caramels are on their own a kick of rum and ginger makes them even better. 
You need
1 large (3 or 4 quart) saucepan
1 small saucepan
2 wooden or silicone spoons ( not metal)
parchment paper
Dish for mold (I use a 7x5 le creuset baker
Measuring cups

For butter mix
1/2 stick butter
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
2 oz Goslings rum

For sugar mix
1 1/2 cups white sugar 
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup warm water

For topping 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon fine ground salt

How to:
1.Put all the butter mix ingredients into small saucepan and heat on medium until butter is fully melted. Make sure to stir frequently as you do not want the half and half to burn. Once butter is melted remove from heat. 
Butter mix melting

2. Place the sugar and corn syrup into the large saucepan and then put in the warm water using some of the warm water to make sure any sugar or syrup that you got on the sides of your pan is washed down. Gently mix things together until makes a paste making sure once again to not get sugar up on sides. Put on stove on medium. Do not stir again. It will look like this.
Sugar just as it starts cooking

3.Wait at least 5 more likely 10 min occasionally looking at the pan. While you are waiting cut a piece of parchment paper that completely covers the inside and flops over the edges in all directions on your mold pan. This is also a good time to pour yourself a dark and stormy or to clean a dish or something but do not go to far. 

4. When the sugar mix begins to turn color start paying close attention when it is light brown (about the color of a lager like Sam Adams but no where near a Guinness in color nor as light as a Miller light)turn off the heat and pour in the butter mix slowly and while stirring( use a wooden spoon or a silicone spoon) It will bubble up and look impressive. 
Bubbling up as the butter mix was added 
I had a hard time taking a picture as it was steaming up and bubbling up so much. Also please ignore the random ramekin of butter behind that was for an unrelated project. 

5. Place back on medium heat. Stirring frequently for several minutes. The caramel will start to thicken and you can see this thickening as you stir. Get your cup of ice water ready and occasionally drip a drop of caramel into the ice-water from your stirring spoon . You are looking for firm ball stage.  Basically when you drip a drop of caramel into the ice water you will get a ball of caramel that will keep its shape in the water but you can squish easy when you take it out. ( basically yummy caramel) When you reach firm ball stage ( about 10 minutes) remove the pan from the heat and pour the caramel into the parchment paper lined mold. 
At firm ball stage caramel looks thick and is steaming less like this.

6. Allow candy in mold to cool for 5-10 minutes and then sprinkle on the topping mixture combo of ginger and salt. Allow caramel to cool until completely cold ( several hours at room temp or go ahead and put in fridge if you feel impatient. 

7. Once completely cooled use your chefs knife to cut the caramel into individual pieces and wrap in squares of waxed paper. 

8. Eat, enjoy, and if feeling kind share with your sailing buddies and non sailing buddies alike.

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