Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mastering Caramel in the HotMix Pro

One of the main differences between a HMP and TM 31, Kenwood Cooking Chef, a ThermoChef, and other thermal cooking machines, is that the HMP can reach 130C for the Easy model and 190C for the Gastro model. The others just can't do this. Its as simple as that.  I know some comments have been made that the TM 31 can make nougat for example, but the whole recipe from start to end, can't be made in the TM 31, you have to transfer ingredients to a saucepan. With an HMP from beginning to end its in the one machine. If you have ever made caramel on the stove top then you will know what it takes. It's not a simple task and there is more than 1 piece of cooking equipment required. With the HMP, all you need is the machine and the paddle attachment, it is that simple and once the ingredients are in, you simply walk away! It's just so good, its hard to believe. Well, you have to believe it people, because I have done it!  I have to admit, it took two attempts to get this recipe right. With my first attempt I used honey as my sweetener and my critics family were not impressed with the honey flavour, they wanted the real stuff!! That being said, if you like honey I recommend you try making caramel with honey its a healthier option than the one I went with.

So this evening, I took on my challenge of making better caramel that would make my critics family happy. I used this recipe,  at AmberLee's blog, giverslog. The only thing I replaced was glucose syrup for the light corn syrup and as this is a really hard substance I didn't really measure exactly 1 cup, it could have been a little less. If the glucose syrup has been sitting in your cupboard for a while and its winter (as it is for me) you will need to sit it in some very hot or boiled water to make it runny. I find measuring it and then pouring the measured amount a waste of time, so I just estimate it as I pour it from the container. Its up to you how you want to do it, but if you do measure it sit the measuring cup in the same water for a little bit before adding to the HMP so it comes out easily.  I also used 300g of butter.

This is what I did.

Add chopped butter to HMP and set on speed 1 and temp to 130C and allow the butter to melt, which should only take a minute or so, but the machine won't reach 130C.

When butter is melted, press stop and lift whole lid to add the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar and glucose syrup, and attach paddle. Close lid and allow to continue to cook on speed 1 until it reaches 130C, this can take 15-20 minutes, but it doesn't matter too much what the time is the HMP will stop when it reaches 130C. Make sure the lid stopper is in place during the whole process. Once it reaches 130C and beeps, add the vanilla extract and let cook for a further 1 minute. The caramel will look like this:
Actually, I overcooked this just a little, so yours might be a little lighter perhaps or at least not as thick as mine ended up. I cooked it until 134C, but I think stopping at 130C is the best temp, as this is what I did on my previous attempt.

Pour this onto a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper and allow to cool before you pre-cut or put into fridge. Or, you can mix things up a little and do what I did. I know its very fashionable to add salt to your caramel. Personally, I have never consider this an attractive option, but today, I thought I would take the idea on but in my own way.
While the caramel was cooking I broke up some pretzels with my hands and scattered them over the bottom of the lined baking tray. I also broke up some milk chocolate Cadbury melts, and I also had some Nestle Caramel chips so I spread some of those in as well. I poured the caramel on top of this layer and while the caramel was still hot I scattered more milk choc melts on top. The heat of the caramel melts the chocolate.
After about 1/2-1 hour, the chocolate is nicely melted and you can start to cut the caramel up into small pieces, but still be careful as it is still quite hot, particularly in the middle. Allow the caramel to continue to cool completely preferably outside of the fridge. Store in an airtight container in your cupboard or fridge.
My critics family have praised me on this latest effort and because I have my HMP doing all the hard work for me, I know I can only get better from here.  I also can't wait to use this recipe for caramel apples. Rest assured, as soon as I do this, a post will soon follow, because come Halloween and Christmas, I will be doing this in a big way! I haven't been able to master the art, but now I know I can make it work!

**This does make a slightly harder caramel. A change of temp for example, 125C or so could create a slightly softer caramel. A few more attempts and I am sure I have it down pat!!**

All the indgredients used in this recipe can be stored easily in your pantry, making it a perfect food storage recipe. The butter can be fresh and stored in your fridge or you can also use canned butter.


HotmixPRO said...

Great, I will promptly retweet it as soon as I end this comment.

Just one suggestion: once you've found the perfect recipe, you could store it (I assume you have a Gastro), this theorically ensures always the same result! :)

("theorically", because any change to ingredients -chocolate dosage, for example- can change the result, of course)

Cheap Storage Sydney said...

Hey Courtney.
I just happened to discover your resourceful blog and must say you have some of the most unique stuff on the blog.
And Im so glad that the ingredients for this yumy recipe can be stored easily in the pantry. After all, who doesnt like food that can be stored without much ado.

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