October 21, 2017

Black Halloween Caramel Candy

Black Halloween Caramel Candy

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade
By Published: 2017-10-21
Boo!!  It's almost time for All Hallow's Eve!  Little ones are astir, planning the delightful and devilish details of their soon to be awe inspiring Halloween outfits.  (While we parents sweat and toil away in the background, attempting against all logic and sanity to produce that very vision twinkling in our youngster's eyes.)  My little girl at first decided to go trick o' treating as a goth/spirit fox but now changed to that absolutely cool and cute goth Marceline the Vampire Queen, from the wonderfully animated TV show Adventure Time.  Soooo in the spirit of 'goth' I decided to make black colored caramels to give away as our Halloween candy.  Homemade caramels are absolutely fabulously tasty and wonderful, so much better than caramels with tons of preservative.  Add a drop of black food coloring and bango!  A perfectly spooky and slightly creepy and yet terribly yummy candy to please all and any Halloween trick o' treaters!

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

What can I say?  Black candy looks super cool.  Just plain delicious soft and chewy caramels, magicked into a spooky and sinister black color.

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade
Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

The great thing about making caramels is that you probably have everything you need already in your kitchen pantry.  It's really a simple thing.  The trick of course, is in the cooking.  For that you will need to have a thermometer that reads up to the high heat levels used in candy making. (This digital thermometer is a good cheap one that can be used for all your thermometer needs from low temps to high.)

And, as we're magicking the caramels today, you will need to have some black magic at hand, in other words some kind of black food coloring.  I would recommend the gel type, as I have tried other types and it's hard to get a solid black.  The black gel food coloring works and you just need a bit of it.  We used Wilton gel food color.

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

For this caramel you will first melt the butter with the cream and salt and then add in the black color.  Doesn't our blackity black gloop look sexy or what?!

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

Then in a separate pot you will caramelize the sugar.  Use a regular stainless steel pot, not a non stick pot, as non stick seems to encourage the sugar to seize up and so forth.  You do not want the sugar to seize as that means game over, throw the sugar out and start over.

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

Sugar is the most amazing thing.  It can be transformed into so many confections that are both amazing to look and awesome to eat.  But it is a very finicky thing to work with, that's for sure.  But no worries, the trick is to use a good thermometer.  The temperature of the sugar is what determines if you end up with caramel or something else.  So just keep a sharp eye on the temperature and all should be fine.

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

Mix caramelized sugar and black gloop together and put back on to the heat.  Witches brew, look at that bubbling black pot of wickedness!!  

This is the final heating where the caramel must to heated to a certain temperature in order to make caramel.  If you don't heat enough you will end up with a gooey mass of caramel candy that is never going to set.  If you over heat then your caramels could be too hard.  I didn't heat my caramel hot enough the first time and when I poured it out and waited and waited for it to set...it never did!  Ugh...what to do?

I ended up scraping the whole black mess back into the pot and reheating.  And...thank goodness...it worked!  Phew... caramels saved!  This time I didn't just rely on the thermometer, I also used the water drop test, which I think is definitely the way to double check the caramel's readiness.  

Do the water drop test as follows: Have a glass of cold water ready.  When your caramel reaches desired temperature, spoon up a bit of the caramel and drip into the cold water.  The caramel should form into a ball. Check that the ball is firm and does not flatten out after a few secs.  If it flattens out then continue heating for a minute and retest.

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade
Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade

When your water drop test confirms readiness, pour caramel out.  It should set to the final consistency in 5 mins or so.  Let it cool completely.  As these caramels are the soft and chewy type I would recommend to place into the freezer for 20 mins or so to firm up before cutting.  Also oil your knife before each cut to help the slicing.  Otherwise it's sticky enough where you will end up struggling with the caramels as you cut and end up with less than attractive caramels.  Which happened to us but we got around that by rolling up the pieces into balls which worked out just fine.

The fun part, the wrapping of the caramels!  There's something about wrapping your own candies in pretty paper that's just so cool.  We found this really cute Halloween waxed paper, cut into a squares and wrapped up our homemade Black Halloween Caramels lickety split.  (Or you can wrap your caramels in black foil wrappers!)  We're all ready for a goth inspired trick o' treating,  just gotta make sure the daughter doesn't sneak all the caramels before Halloween comes round!

Black, Halloween, Caramel Candy, recipe, food coloring, soft, chewy, homemade


Black Halloween Caramels Recipe
(adapted from the recipe here)  (makes around 60 caramels) Prep time:    Cook time:

Ingredients:

1 cup cream, 230g
4 tbsp unsalted butter, 57g
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar, 300g
1/4 cup corn syrup, 75g
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract, (or licorice extract)
1/4 -1/2 tsp black food coloring

Directions:
Have a 8 by 8" pan ready.  Line with parchment paper, leaving paper hanging over sides.  Butter lightly.  Put a glass of water into the fridge in preparation for the water drop test.  

Warm cream, butter, salt in small pot over low heat until the butter melts.  Remove from heat and add in food coloring a bit at a time until you get the black that you desire.

Using a medium sized pot with high sides, add in sugar, corn syrup and water.  Stir until the sugar is completely combined with water.  Check the sides of the pot and use a wet brush to wipe down any sugar crystals that you see over the level of the water.  Once done, do not stir the sugar water mixture anymore.  Heat over medium heat until sugar syrup reaches 300°F-320°F.

Take off the heat and slowly pour cream/butter mixture into sugar syrup, stirring the whole time.  The sugar syrup will bubble up quite a bit.

Heat over medium heat, without stirring, until the caramel reaches 248°F- 252°F.  Once the caramel reaches these temperatures, test with water drop test as follows. 

Water Drop Test : Spoon out a bit of caramel, being careful not to touch the very hot caramel.  Drop  caramel into the glass of water that has been keeping cool in fridge.  The cold water will set the caramel right away.  The caramel should form a firm chewy ball and keep its shape (called firm ball stage).   If it does not form a ball or the ball flattens out after a few seconds the caramel is not yet ready and should be cooked a bit more.

Once your caramel has passed the water drop test, add in vanilla extract, give it a whisk and then quickly pour it into your lined pan.  It should firm up to its final consistency within 5-10 mins or so.  Let cool until room temperature, about two hours.  To make it easier to cut, put caramel into freezer for 20 mins.  Lightly score to whatever dimensions you want for your caramel candy and cut with an oiled knife (oil it again for each slice!)  

Cut parchment paper into squares or rectangles big enough to wrap your candy with.  Roll each caramel in paper and then twist the two ends.  Ta-da!  Homemade Spooky, Blackity Black Halloween Caramels!  Happy All Hallow's Eve to all the little witches, goblins and goths out there!!

Tip:  Leave out the food coloring and you can have regular deliciously tasty, soft and chewy caramels!


More Tricks and Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:

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