Friday, February 01, 2013

caramel, or a near fail

Two food posts in one week? Neither of them resulting in me sharing an actual, successful, reciplicable recipe? Oh well. That's life sometimes.

At the start of the year there were two cooking goals I wanted to accomplish, among others. Apparently time in the kitchen is one of my most favourite things to tackle, because I've already made a couple of attempts at macarons and I've played a bit with caramel.

The caramel goal isn't to make a beautiful caramel sauce - that I already know how to do thanks to Michael Smith, who tends to have some of the dreamiest, easiest recipes ever. The goal was to make those chewy, somewhat soft caramel candies. When I finally got my hands on a candy thermometer I felt like life's greatest mystery was solved. Since then I've made two attempts at caramels, and both have somewhat failed (although no epic fails, thankfully).

The first recipe I used told me to line my pan in waxed paper to make for "easy" removal which was really, really bad advice. The caramel stuck to the paper and Bunny and I spent an hour cutting things off of the paper and half the batch ended up going in the garbage. The bits I salvaged were fairly dreamy though and I quite enjoyed having one or two bits of caramel after dinner. The second fail was totally my own fault, and was a bit of a comedy of errors: I used too small a pan, so I had to rush some steps and didn't get the heat high enough after adding the cream, and speaking of the cream I used 5% coffee cream. It was cold, coffee cream was all I had, and I was too lazy to walk to the corner store for some heavy cream. I ended up with a very thick caramel sauce. Not quite what I was going for.

Luckily I have plans in mind for the big pan of caramel sauce sitting in the fridge. White cake with caramel whipped cream frosting, and I think I'll be trying a take on this luscious pot de creme with caramel instead of chocolate. That project is for the next weekend, and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

Sometimes its more fun when things don't work out as intended, and this particular mess up has certainly given me more opportunities to play.

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