Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Caramel Overload Take 2

There are days that truly cause me to question my own sanity.  I found myself doing that today. 

Back in March, I answered the call put out by Stefani of Cupcake Project for donors for the Food Blogger Bake Sale for Share our Strength to be held this coming Saturday.  I offered to make caramels and ship them to her since I'm not able to attend the bake sale in St. Louis.  I was thinking it would be a great opportunity to support a good cause and a good excuse to make some caramels.  I was thinking about goat milk, red wine and bourbon-vanilla bean caramels.  I was not, at that time, thinking about how much I really don't like cutting dozens and dozens of caramels.  I was also not thinking about it being almost 90 degrees in mid-May. 

(And speaking of crazy, I just received a call from Justin to see if I could do a graduation cake for him for May 21.  I said yes.  I am totally insane.)

But back to caramels . . . Yesterday I made two batches of caramels:  goat milk with sea salt and bourbon-vanilla bean.  If I'm going to continue making multiple batches of caramels in one day I am going to need to invest in at least one more 9 x 13 pan and get a quote on that caramel cutter.

When I've cut caramels in the past, I've either eyeballed it or used a cookie/fondant cutter.  While I am crazy, I did talk myself out of using a cutter this time.  But I did want them to be a little more uniform than the eyeballing method.  So I decided to mark and score them and hopefully be able to cut along the lines.

Nice, even caramel squares.
It actually worked pretty well.  Ordinarily I cut squares about 1/2 inch, but this time most of them are 1 inch.  If I were cutting all of them at 1/2 inch, I'd still be at it.  I do prefer them smaller though - one bite size.

Even though the scoring worked well for keeping the caramels uniform, it did nothing to protect the palm of my hand from the spine of the knife blade.  Because of having to ship the caramels in warm weather, I made them a little firmer than usual.  Which means harder to cut.  There has to be some "as seen on TV" product out there to avoid this.  If not, there should be.


In the end, for each flavor I had 6 dozen 1-inch pieces, plus 4-1/2 dozen 1/2-inch pieces for samples.  (I believe in try before you buy.)  Tomorrow I have to get to Hobby Lobby for more boxes.  In the meantime, the caramels have taken up residence in the oven to keep them out of harm's way.

Last week I had the pate de fruit in the oven to get it out of the way, so obviously our oven hasn't been used for much other than storage lately.  The hubs did ask what would happen if he forgot and accidentally turned on the oven.  I wasn't too worried about it with the pate de fruit, but I can't risk it with the caramels.

So this is my high-tech solution:

 It works.

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