Let it be known that by reading this blog, you may encounter recipes that I do not (clarify, DO NOT) want you to make. There was the incident of the rocky mountain oysters….and speaking of oysters, I brought you that broiled oyster thingamajig, which was less meal porn, more statement about eating oysters in months that end in letters other than “R”. Stay away from them. If you’re at a wedding in June, slowly back away from the tiered seafood platter. Ignore the bride as she gushes that the oysters are all local and hand-harvested! And you’re in Long Island. This would be a different story if you’re at a wedding in PEI or the Arctic Circle. Then, by all means, go ahead.
Maybe I should stay away from oysters period. They don’t do anything to further the content of this space. And neither, really, does caramel.
Like the baked oysters post, I’m going to show you a few images of some salty sweet caramels. Unlike the baked oysters post, these images are appetizing. These caramels are darn right cute. They’re perfect on their own, but then throw in some earnest parchment paper and twine ties, and they could be straight out of an artisanal Brooklyn food festival.
You can eat them yourself, or you can do what I did, which is bundle them into some cellophane packaging (more cute points) and gift them! Save them for the people who will really appreciate them. Your friends on Instagram who message you with sweet notes like “MUST HAVE THESE!” with emojis of hearts, daggers and the rest of the dangerous weapons.
Because these caramels, for lack of a better phrase, are a bit*% to make. I make it a case not to swear in my posts, but in order to authentically translate the full caramel-making experience, it was necessary.
It all started innocently enough. I’d been buying goat caramels at Forager’s Market every time I picked up my morning coffee. My jacket pockets feel empty without a few balled-up wrappers wedged into the corners that collect the stray pennies.
Channeling my inner Emeril, I thought “SELF! These have to be pretty easy to make at home…” And so began my search for the perfect goat caramel recipe.
Not that I had many to choose from. Every time I searched “goat milk caramels” and other iterations of the phrase, only one recipe floated to the top of the page.
It was a sign.
I emailed Vermont Creamery to find out whether they carry goat milk. They responded that all of their goat milk is used to make cheese. It’s very good cheese though, Vermont Creamery I salute you for your decision. But it was back to the drawing board on my goat caramel mission.
My search for goat milk continued, and there – right when I wasn’t looking – a liter of it appeared. At Whole Foods no less, right next to my intended sour cream purchase. I quickly gathered the other necessary supplies – fresh creamery butter, corn syrup, and white & brown sugars.
Back at home, I dug out my candy thermometer. The one with the notches lined up like minuscule drug dealers along the temperature gauge. Soft crack! Hard crack!
If you want to surprise your family, just tell them that you were drinking beer and making crack in your kitchen all afternoon.
I set up my candy-making station at the stove and got to work. Making caramel isn’t too challenging. There’s a lot of bubbling and spitting (the caramel, hopefully not you), which isn’t the worst sound if you’re prepared for it. You have to keep an eye on the caramel to make sure that it doesn’t bubble over your pot and destroy your stove; and be sure to give it the occasional stir…but as long as you’re in the kitchen paying a modest amount of attention, it’s simple business.
Pour it into a prepared glass dish, and let it cool slightly, then sprinkle with Maldon salt. Again, child’s play.