Michael is from Kentucky. And everyone knows he’s a fan of bourbon. Which is why our liquor cabinet is always stocked with bottles upon bottles of the stuff. Anytime someone comes to visit, the guest inevitably buys him a congratulatory gift for finishing his MBA, passing the latest section of the CFA exam, or just because. So, I decided to used up a hefty 2 tablespoons of it in these yummy caramels. This was my first time making candy, and my first time using my brand new digital candy thermometer! Michael thanks me. Recipe after the jump.
Bourbon Caramels (adapted from My Tartelette, originally adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert)
Makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels
1 cup corn syrup
2 cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark (or other Kentucky whiskey)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened
- Line the bottom and sides of a baking pan (9×13 would work great) with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.)
- Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F.
- Meanwhile, heat the cream in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F; for firmer chewy caramels.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for four to five hours, or overnight until firm.
- Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.