Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fleur De Sel Caramels

I have been on a candy making binge lately. I recently bought Truffles, Candies and Confections by Carole Bloom and got from the library, Chocolate Obsession by Michael Recchuiti. I suppose you could say Recchuiti inspired the whole thing. I had his amazing chocolates in the Ferry building in San Francsico. Candies infused with jasmine, pink peppercorns, star anice, burnt caramel, fleur de sel. They were all amazing. For years I have been making candy at Christmas time but they were easy recipes, not necessarily using quality ingredients. I decided to kick my candymaking up a notch.

I started my quest for great chocolates with several different caramel recipes that have turned out great and some of the best English Toffee I have ever made. But I really wanted to take the next step and temper chocolate and dip something. So I thought I would start with the Fleur de Del caramels since I love caramel and I have successful made caramel. Easy enough. Right?

Well, I have read about a thousand articles on tempering chocolate. But apparently not enough. The caramel turned out fantastic. Sweet and golden with a salty Fleur de Sel kick. I followed the instruction on tempering. I carefully dipped them all with the help of my daughter Grace. I left them out to cool. They were looking pretty great. I put them on the green counter where the dog can't get to them. Well, I must have left enough foil hanging over the edge. Because I heard a thud from upstairs and sure enough she had pulled one sheet to the floor and was hiding in a corner having a little caramel bliss!

And the real end to the story is, I did not temper them correctly. By the end of the day the dreaded freckles appeared. I will try to let this not discourage me from tempering and dipping. Now I really - really want one of those tempering machines that cost $350. But I hope to conquer this. I am sure it is like making fresh pasta. If you do it often enough you will get a feel for it. I am sure all friends and family will encourage me to try. Afterall they love all of them whether they have bloom on them or not!

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