Thursday, April 7, 2011

Practice Makes Caramels

Finished - finally!

I could have said perfect, but caramel doesn't have to be perfect to be good, as evidenced by some of my previous shortcomings.  There have been some ideas for caramels rumbling around in my head for awhile now, kept in place by the time and attention necessary for finishing the wedding cake flowers.  The flowers I actually need for the cake are done (but I still need to finish one or two for the back ups).  So today, I released one of the caramel ideas from its imprisonment inside my head.  Today I made red wine caramels.

Given that the original caramel recipe only called for half of a cup of water, I chose to reduce two cups of red wine (Merlot) down to one-half cup.  I didn't think half of a cup of wine would give me the flavor I was looking for.  But then again, I'm not sure the two cups reduced did either. 

The wine reduction, corn syrup and sugar was so beautiful while it was cooking. 

So pretty . . .

Then the cream, evaporated and sweetened condensed milks were added.  It turned mauve:  a color I find neither appealing nor appetizing. 

so not.

Fortunately the caramelization of the sugars helped the color a bit, and it still has a slight pink tint to it. 

And now we wait.

From what I chewed off of the spatula though, I'm not tasting much of anything that resembles wine.  We'll see what they taste like tomorrow when they're ready to cut.  If I can wait that long.

The reason I have all of these caramel ideas floating around is that I am donating caramels to a food-blogger bake sale for Share our Strength to be held in St. Louis on May 14.  This particular sale is being organized in part by Stef at the Cupcake Project.  I'm donating goat milk caramels with sea salt for sure.  Others are still awaiting testing/results.  The jury is still out on this one.  I really want to get to one of the other recipes today, but I absolutely must get myself to the grocery store.  It can be a bit irritating when the "need to do's" trump the "want to do's". 
Maybe there's a different w(h)ine about these caramels.