Friday, February 05, 2010

Lavender Caramels

I had my doubts about this, so I went cautiously with the amount of lavender-1 teaspoon. I think that turned out to be just about right. The effect is subtle, but definitely there. I also used vanilla which I think helped with the "gee, this really evokes Yardley soap" reaction so many people get with culinary lavender.

I also went much heavier on the salt than I normally would, using coarse salt sprinkled atop the finished caramel and again when I removed it from the pan and flipped it over before cutting. It sounds like a lot, and maybe it is, but it cuts through the cloying taste you get from all that sugar.

I just don't know. My gut feeling is that orange would be good with caramel, maybe ginger. I would have liked the caramel darker/deeper and I'm considering trying it with golden syrup rather than corn syrup to see if it gives the end result a bit more bite.

You Will Need:

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk, warmed and set aside for 30 minutes with 1 teaspoon culinary lavender buds. Then, strained.
1 cup butter
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Coarse salt for dusting

Prepare the milk and lavender.

Combine everything except vanilla and salt, in a large, heavy pot. Over medium heat, bring slowly to a boil, stirring until dissolved. Stir occasionally and cook until mixture reaches 248 degrees F. on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, add vanilla. Pour into well-buttered 8x8x2 pan. Sprinkle with salt. When cooled, turn out onto a board and sprinkle other side with salt as well. Cut and wrap in waxed paper. Makes about 3 1/2 pounds.

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