September 16th, 2021


The busiest weekend I've had in a while. But it's for a good cause!

I wanted to make soft pretzels and caramels for my coworkers.
Pretzels, because I've been wanting to make them anyway, and caramels, because I've made them before and everyone really seems to enjoy them. I've even had a few people ask to buy a batch! But I don't have the time or the equipment to make more than a single batch at a time, unfortunately.

I made one batch of caramels Tuesday night to get a head start.
Here's a little video sequence of how that goes. Since this is Instagram you have to click on the little arrows to the right of each video to see the next video in sequence.

It starts with sugar, water, a tablespoon of corn syrup, and a little lemon juice in a saucepan. The lemon juice helps to keep sugar crystals small or something, idk. Then you just put that on medium high, do NOT stir it, and watch it until it starts to turn a nice amber color. People like their caramel at varying degrees of darkness, and I lean more dark; if you like yours lighter you can stop the caramelization process when your sugar looks the color of pale honey.

Anyway, Once it's the color you want you carefully pour in the cream, and from this point on you've got to stir continuously to avoid burning and crystalizing and scalding and all that. As water boils off from the sugar mixture, the temperature increases above the boiling point. This time I was trying for 264.

Once my candy thermometer reached 264, I took the caramel immediately off the heat and poured it into a large bowl. Then I added a little butter, vanilla paste, and sea salt. Mixed it all in and poured it in a nice foil tray to cool. Tadaaaaa.

The decorative salt tends to melt down here in FL, I assume because it's so stinkin humid. It was nice to get a picture where you could see it just this once (taken on Wednesday, after the caramel had cooled in the fridge overnight). The touring company manager saw this photo and said, "We've got to get you a hotel room with a kitchen!"

On Wednesday morning I got up earlier than usual because there was just so much to do. I ate a quick breakfast and immediately made a second batch of caramels. While they were cooling I cleaned up, then mixed up a batch of pretzel dough. Once it was kneaded and resting I made a double recipe of the same dough. That batch went straight into the fridge where it will stay overnight to develop flavor, but mostly just to save me time on Thursday.

Also, I can't do three batches of pretzels at once because the fridge isn't big enough.
Also, if I mess up the first batch I've got two more tries with the other two batches of dough.

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