Today we going the Savory sweet route with Buttery Bourbon Caramels. It’s basically caramels that have a splash of Kentucky bourbon for taste and topped with a pecan nut that has been toasted.
Call her the Baroness of Buckeyes and the Princess of Peppermint Bark – my little sister Hannah is a master at making Christmas candy. A methodical and calculated cook (carried over from her physician’s assistant mind), she’s likely to be found in her kitchen a few weeks before Christmas prayerfully massaging a roll of soon-to-be-transformed creme candy.
If I’ve learned anything from Hannah about the art of creating homemade candy, it’s that even if you strictly follow the rules of a recipe, candy can still cause some kitchen drama. You’d better have a trusty candy thermometer, a dehumidifier and plenty of patience, because sometimes these recipes can get, well, a little sticky.
Speaking of sticky, don’t you love the texture of a salty, buttery caramel square in your mouth? The way this clump of creamy sweetness oozes down the back of your tongue as you chew? Maybe add in a hint of bourbon to heat up the caramel’s flavor with a crunchy layer of nuts?
I’ve always wanted to make chunky caramels for the holidays and found this recipe from Martha Stewart a couple of days ago. Martha and her people usually present a dependable recipe, but in making a couple batches, I learned a few tips that I wish had been footnoted before I waited eight hours for my lovely caramels to set. I also couldn’t resist stirring in some bourbon and crowning each little morsel with a toasted pecan, giving my caramels a touch of Kentucky.
If you try out my recipe, heed a few candy concoction warnings:
1. When heating your caramel, wait until the temperature is at (or a little beyond) 258 degrees F. If you live in a humid environment, as I do, maybe let the heat rise a couple degrees just to get out that extra moisture. But be careful not to burn!
2. Don’t touch those caramels until eight hours have passed. If they’re still not set in eight hours, throw them in the fridge for a few more. That will surely harden them up.
3. Grease up that parchment paper before you set out those caramels! It’s the worst when your golden caramel is stuck to some pesky paper. Oh and don’t a sub-in wax paper for parchment – big mistake, there!
4. Cut those caramels into pretty little squares when the slab is nice and firm, but either immediately wrap them up in wax paper or put them in the fridge once they are cut. Caramel continues to melt and expand at room temp – and those pretty, precise little square caramels will soon look like blobs if they aren’t wrapped or chilled soon after cutting.
5. Scrape your saucepan with fresh apples – you won’t regret this little snack while the caramel is still warm!
6. Share your caramels. They are so delightful during the holidays and make the best little dessert appetizers.
Vegetable oil, for baking sheet 2 cups heavy cream 2¼ cups sugar 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces 1 cup of light corn syrup, ¼ cup of dark corn syrup ½ teaspoon coarse salt ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract ? cup of bourbon (Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve) 2 cups of halved pecans Try out our Buttery Bourbon Caramels Recipe and post your results below in the comments…
How to make Buttery Bourbon Caramels
Vegetable oil, for baking sheet
2 cups heavy cream
2¼ cups sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup of light corn syrup, ¼ cup of dark corn syrup
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
? cup of bourbon (Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve)
2 cups of halved pecans
Try out our Buttery Bourbon Caramels Recipe and post your results below in the comments…