Tag Archives: candy

Acme Baking Company perfects the Salted Caramel

I am a novice candy maker, I have attempted three caramels in my lifetime and unlike a lot of fellow novice bakers I have had success every time. That being said, the perfect Salted Caramel still alluded me. So this year, for my boss’ birthday, she requested home made salted caramels and I accepted the challenge.

The resulting recipe is soft enough to bite into but firm enough to cut and wrap – they literally melt in your mouth.

Acme Baking Company Heavenly Salted Caramels
boiling, sugar, candy, caramel
Prepare an 8×8 pan – I chose to line the pan with parchment and then lightly sprayed the parchment with non-stick spray.

In a medium sauce pan heat the following over low heat while cooking the sugar mixture:
4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt (I used table salt)
2 tsp vanilla

In a 3.5-4qt sauce pan cook the following to 310 degrees:
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup

When the sugar mixture reaches 310 degree, slowly add your heated cream mixture. This will bubble, spit and erupt furiously – don’t be afraid it will all calm down but be sure you add the cream slowly to avoid a boil over or any kind of accidental burns.

Once the mixture calms down a bit, stir it just a little (with a fresh utensil) and allow to come to “FIRM BALL” temp which should be around 250 degrees.

At 250 degrees, remove the mixture from the heat and add an addition 2 tbsp butter. Stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted and the entire thing looks smooth and shiny.

Pour the hot mixture into your prepared dish and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cool almost completely and cut long strips with a pizza cutter and then the actual pieces from each strip with a sharp knife. Wrap each piece individually.

Acme Baking Company Vanilla Marshmallows

The Acme Baking Company Christmas box for 2012 contained traditional
treats like ginger thins, fudge, chocolate chip cookies and some more
unique offerings. But, every year new things have to be tried and
included and this year was the year of the marshmallow. Boozy and
traditional graced boxes prepared for families with short people (ie
kids).

Boozy marshmallows are a little challenging to make but I promise to
post a recipe and how to instructions eventually. For now, here is my
favorite, simple vanilla marshmallow recipe. Whip some up, toss them
into hot chocolate, on the end of a stick to toasting or just eat them
straight out of the container.

Vanilla Marshmallows

As with all candy making you want to prepare your pan beforehand. We
used an 8×10 pan, you can use something smaller you will just have
slightly thicker marshmallows. Spray the pan with non-stick spray and
wipe most of it out with a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar;
make sure to coat the pan well.

1/2 cup very cold water
3 packets of gelatin (found in your grocery store near the Jello)

Place the cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the
gelatin over it before you start making the sugar syrup on the stove.
Let stand.

2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water

Combine in a 6qt heavy sauce pan. Heat on medium heat and stir until
the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring once the sugar is dissolved and let
the mixture come to a boil – no need to increase the heat. Once the
mixture comes to a boil, let it go for 1 minute and then remove from
the heat.

2 teaspoons vanilla (or other extract)
Attach the whisk attachment to your mixer and with your mixer on low,
slowly pour the hot syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Once
combined increase the speed of your mixer to medium high – after a few
minutes add the vanilla and continue to whip for about 12 minutes
total.

Once the mixture if fully whipped it will be fluffy and incredibly
sticky. Coat a rubber spatula or large offset knife with non-stick
spray and scrape out your bowl into your prepared pan. Be patient but
continue to work the mixture until it is spread in evenly in the pan.
Top with a generous coat of powdered sugar and let stand on your
counter for 3 hours or overnight.

There really is not anything you can do to expedite this process, it
just takes this long to firm up. Once firm, lift your marshmallows out
of the pan and place on a cutting board. I used a greased pizza cutter
to cut squares, but you could use shaped cookie cutters for fun
shapes. Toss cut marshmallows into a bowl of powdered sugar to
eliminate sticky edges.

Package in airtight containers. These marshmallows will last about 1 month.

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Acme Baking Co – Fleur de Sel Caramels

At Acme Baking Company we don’t claim to be candy makers, before this year our attempts were limited to fudge and this amazing pecan roca that can be made using a microwave. Sure a candy thermometer graces our kitchen gadget drawer but it had never seen the inside of a pot of boiling sugar until now! It can be intimidating but if you follow our instructions you should have success.

We should note, that we typically use a 6qt hard anodized non-stick pot but we think we will graduate to a heavy stainless steel pot soon. The other thing  worth mentioning is that candy making is really easy to clean up. It sounds like it would present a sticky mess but remember sugar dissolves in hot water so with a little patience your mess will be cleaned up.

Fleur De Sel Caramels

Before you start it is important that you have your pan prepared. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick spray. (I generally spray and then gently wipe it mostly off with a paper towel)

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (this can be purchased at Williams Sonoma or online – you can also use a whole, split vanilla bean. Just remove it before adding the hot milk to the boiling sugar)
1 1/4 tsp sea salt – finely ground
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream, butter, vanilla, paste and salt over medium low heat. Do not boil this mixture but make sure you get it really hot and stir it frequently.

In a large, 6qt, sauce pan heat the sugar, corn syrup and water over medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved continue to heat the mixture, occasionally swirling the pan until the mixture becomes  a light amber color. This will take some time so be patient and don’t try to rush it by increasing the heat of the burner.

Once the mixture is a nice golden color, stir in the cream mixture. Pour slowly and stir constantly – the sugar mixture will boil up so don’t go too slowly. Once the cream is all added you will not be stirring anymore. At this point you should insert a candy themometer without letting the bulb touch the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking the mixture until it reaches “firm ball” stage or about 248 degrees.

Immediately remove from the heat and pour into your prepared pan – avoid the temptation to scrape the pan. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or so and then sprinkle the top with a coarsely crushed sea salt. Cool completely and then cut. I typically use a lightly oiled pizza cutter. Wrap the pieces in wax paper, cellophane or foil 4” squares – you can buy these or make your own.