living the sweet life

Chocolate Covered Caramels

I made these for Prom.

Not like actual prom because that was 5 or 6 years ago and please, this 23 year old was not about to go to a high school prom. Seeing all the pictures on Facebook from my younger friends was enough to make me feel old. Imagine being there in person?

So no, not real prom. Instead it was a prom themed party that my boyfriend’s friends threw and I decided that we needed some sort of snack and dessert and what better excuse than a party where I can pawn off 50+ caramels and not get stuck eating them all myself. Because, trust me, if I had these all to myself… I would have had the stomachache of the century. No bueno.

I bought this mold sometime last summer/fall with the idea that I wanted to make lots of cute little chocolates: pure chocolates, chocolate covered caramels, chocolate covered marshmallows, chocolate covered coconut clusters.. really anything chocolate covered. The main idea in my head was the chocolate covered caramels. You know the large heart boxes of chocolates that have an assortment and half of them turn out to be gross? I always want a box just with the caramel ones but that usually seems impossible. And then I forget, get another assorted box, and end up throwing a bunch of them away.

So I thought, with this mold I can make myself a huge box JUST of the chocolate covered caramel ones. Perfect.

Then I needed the courage to make caramel. I had only made a caramel sauce once before for cupcakes, so my experience was limited (I made these before the homemade salted caramel sauce). But truthfully, if you have a thermometer, it’s not that hard. It’s intimidating, so make sure to read the recipe thoroughly, but once you’ve done that, you’ll be set. I advise that you have all of your ingredients prepared BEFORE starting the caramel.

Oh, and another note. When working with only 1 mold, it’s not a lot of work per-say but it takes a lot of time. If I consider making a lot more of these chocolate covered things and using the mold frequently, I’ll invest in another one or two. But until then, I’ll just do it the long way. Except that I also forgot to take pictures, so I took these ones minutes before we were leaving for the party. Better than nothing, right?

Chocolate Covered Caramels

makes about 40-60 caramels, depending on size of mold

1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
10-12 ounces semi sweet chocolate
1/4 – 1 teaspoon canola oil

Line the bottom and sides of a square pan with parchment paper and lightly oil it.

Prep and measure out ingredients. You’ll want them all handy because once you start, things can move quickly.

In a small saucepan, combine heavy cream and butter. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan (3-4 quart saucepan), combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Boil the mixture, gently swirling the pan (without stirring), until the sugar is dissolved and it has a light golden caramel color.

Carefully stir in the vanilla extract, sea salt, and cream mixture. The mixture WILL bubble up, so be careful and watch out. Simmer the mixture, stirring frequently, until the caramel registers 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour into the square baking pan and let cool, about 2 hours.

Without a chocolate mold: Remove caramels from the pan and cut into desired size/shape. Melt chocolate in a heat proof & microwave safe bowl at 50% power for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring after each one, until melted. Add in canola oil, 1/4 teaspoon at a time until the chocolate has a nice smooth consistency. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter. Dip the caramels, one at a time, and place on the parchment paper. Let dry.

With a chocolate mold: If you have more than one mold, you can melt more chocolate. But for one mold, melt chocolate 2 ounces at a time in a microwave safe heat-proof bowl, microwaving at 50% power for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring after each one until melted. Add canola oil, 1/4 teaspoon at a time until chocolate has a nice smooth consistency. Spoon a small amount of chocolate into each mold (again, depends on the size of mold) and using a small pastry brush, paint brush, or piece of paper towel, brush the chocolate around to completely coat the mold. Pop mold in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until chocolate is set. Using a spoon or your hands, rip up pieces of caramel, rolling it up and placing it in each mold so that the caramel almost reaches the top. With a spoon, cover the top of each mold with chocolate. Pop in the freezer for a few minutes, until set. Take the mold out. Invert the mold onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and gently pop out each chocolate by tapping and twisting the plastic. Transfer caramels into a Tupperware and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Before serving, let caramels come up to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes (otherwise the caramel is too hard).

[source: adapted from Good Life Eats]

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