holiday baking bummer

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Today was supposed to be a beautiful post about how I made sea salt caramel candy for my family and friends for Christmas.  What it actually is is a post about how we tried to make sea salt caramel candy, didn’t get it hot enough, and now it’s in a blob on the counter and won’t quite hold a shape well enough to cut and wrap.  Waahhhh!

S.O.S., kitchen mavens!  Who’s got a brilliant idea?  I know that we didn’t quite get the caramel hot enough to get to “firm ball” stage.  It’s more like a soft ball.  Should we scrap it and start over?  Should we change directions and use the soft caramel for something else?  I’m sure you know my frustration — that icky feeling that you get when you’re in the middle of a project that has just gone absolutely wrong.

In any case, if any of you wonderful Lovelies has any advice, ideas, or just wants to commiserate about domesticity gone awry, I would love to hear your comments!  And aside from this little candy-making debacle, you’ll be happy to know that the rest of my week is going pretty great.  xoxo

10 thoughts on “holiday baking bummer”

  1. Just laugh . . . it’ll work next time . . . there is a reason and a difference between ‘soft’ ball & ‘hard’ ball . . . have fun

  2. I had a salted caramel fail this weekend too! Except I made two rock hard batches, and then the third came out perfect.

    You could try melting it back in the pot and bringing it to hard ball (248 according to the recipe I used). I don’t know that this would work, but it’s worth a try before throwing it all out. Or I think making it into a sauce would work.

    Or you could just start over. On my third batch, I used the thermometer but also went old school and sprinkled a few drops of the boiling caramel in ice water to get a preview of the final consistency. At 248 it was perfect, but before that it was too mushy. Have enough supplies on hand for 2 or 3 batches so you can get it right without getting too frustrated (and taking multiple trips to the store for heavy cream).

    You could also calibrate your thermometer if you don’t trust it. Put it in a pot of water and bring to boil. When the water boils it should read 212 (at sea level).

    Good luck!

  3. I had a similar experience yesterday. Tried to make apricot and almond biscotti and fudge for presents, but I made the biscotti the wrong shape and apparently didn’t cook the fudge for long enough or didn’t stir it for enough time, so came out more like sweet hard bread slices and the fudge wouldn’t set…

    Sat on the kitchen floor and fought back tears of frustration, then got the idea to put the fudge in old baby food jars as fudge spread for the sweet bread. I’m still upset, but I think it will turn out okay.

  4. When making candies, I find using the thermometer it turns out more like it is suppose to turn out. I never had much luck with a drop of candy into cold water. Good luck. Keep trying you will get it with experience. Then when it turns out right make the adjustments to your recipe. Have a Merry Christmas, Cuz.

  5. Put the soft caramel in small mason jars and rename it “Salted Caramel Ice Cream Topping” or “Salted Caramel Apple Dip.” I had the same thing happen to me last year when I tried to make Milk Fudge. My family and I just enjoyed it with a spoon. 🙂

  6. Would it be possible to heat up some dark chocolate and paraffin (or whatever makes it become a hard shell) and cover the soft stuff with it? I’m imagining a soft-centered chocolate candy. Mary See would know what to do!

  7. I know this is late! But if it ever happens again, you can make beautiful caramel candy apples! My mom does this for the holidays, and they’re gorgeous!

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