Handmade candies are a great idea for party favours particularly during the holiday season. This year, we’ve been trying toffee and caramel recipes at home with varying levels of success. The first batch of caramel smelt, looked and tasted great but a few hours in the fridge and the whole batch turned into granulated sugar. The second (and third and fourth) batch turned out to be a great success. We used the recipe listed on Inspired Taste but had to improvise as we don't have a candy thermometer – there was a lot of careful watching, waiting and wrapping.
So head on over to Inspired Taste for their recipe or scroll down for our no candy thermometer version. We’ve also included a link here from the Exploratorium with visuals on the different stages in candy making.
Makes 50 pieces
(recipe adapted from inspiredtaste.net)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup (or glucose syrup)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp water
1 tsp sea salt flakes
canola oil spray (for the baking tray & wax paper)
a small bowl with 1/2 cup cold water
Line a 10-inch baking tray with the lightly oiled wax paper and set aside.
In a small bowl combine the butter and heavy cream and heat for 1 minute in the microwave.
In a deep saucepan add the water, sugar and corn syrup and bring to a gentle boil. Make sure that sugar crystals do not stick to the sides of the pan (this will cause crystallisation later on). Brush the sides of the pan with water if any sugar crystal get stuck to it.
The next step takes a few minutes and you should not move away from the stove. Have your small bowl with cold water ready to go. The bubbling sugar syrup will take a while to slowly turn amber but can become burnt within seconds if you’re not careful. Watch for it turn a caramel colour and take it off the heat (the syrup at this stage is stringy).
Add the melted butter and heavy cream in two batches and stir to incorporate it into the syrup. Be careful as the mixture will bubble like crazy and will burn.
This is where you will the bowl with cold water. As your caramel mixture bubbles away you want to test it at intervals for a firm ball consistency (drop a small amount of syrup in the cold water, allow it to cool slightly and gather into a ball – it should hold its shape but still be malleable).
Pour the caramel into the greased pan and allow to cool for 45min-1hr. Scatter the sea salt over the cooled caramel. Slice into 1 inch x 1/2 inch rectangles and wrap in baking paper.
Store refrigerated and pack into party bags for favours.