Maybe it was the talk of matzoh crackers dipped in chocolate at a children’s Passover Seder I attended recently – along with this picture from Crustabakes, perfectly depicting the yummy phenomenon that occurs when hot caramel (or toffee, in Crustabake’s case) oozes through the crags and air holes in crackers – that caused me to belly up to the caramel bar.
First, I made sure the bar was well stocked.
Also, there was salt. Lots of flaky finishing salt. Sprinkled generously like fairy dust first over the mounds of crackers, chocolate, popcorn and candy coated sunflower seeds.
Then a second time, over the freshly poured caramel. It can just be assumed that when I say caramel, I mean salted caramel.
This a chewy and substantial caramel. The recipe requires some time but is relatively easy.
After pouring, I let the pan sit overnight before cutting the candy into pieces. I think a few hours will do the trick, especially because the caramel is so darn hard to resist!
The first time I tried this, I embedded the crackers in the caramel and then spread melted semi-sweet chocolate on top while the caramel was still warm. The two were like oil and water and did not stick to each other. I also thought the chocolate was a bit dominating. The next couple rounds, I sprinkled a few chocolate chips among the crackers.
The hot caramel oozed over them like a lava flow and “fossilized” everything in its path to satisfying effect. I was pleased with the chocolate, crunch and salt balance overall. Sort of like that perfect drink. Sort of (but better).
[ PRINTABLE RECIPE ]
Gorgeous Chewy Caramel
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 stick (1/2 c.) salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
1. Remove paper wrapper from can of sweetened condensed milk. Place unopened can in a pot of water, making sure to cover the can with water. Bring water to boil on a burner set to high. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer the can in the water for 2 hours. Make sure the can is covered by water at all times.
2. While the milk simmers, generously grease a large rimmed cookie sheet with butter. If using crackers, popcorn, chocolate or other treats, arrange them on the pan. I would advise using a few chocolate chips because the caramel does not adhere well to a “sheet” of chocolate.
3. After two hours, off heat and remove the can from the pot of water. The contents are under pressure, so open the can carefully with a can opener, preferably in the kitchen sink, because a bit of cooked milk will squirt out. The milk should be a light caramel color.
4. Pour the cooked milk in a heavy pot. Add the butter, sugar and corn syrup, and mix with a wooden or silicone spoon. Have an instant read or candy thermometer handy, and place the pot on a burner set to medium.
5. Stir the mixture continuously, taking care to scrape the bottom of the pot, for approximately 30 minutes, until the temperature reaches a whopping 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. When the mixture reaches 250 degrees, immediately remove the pot from the heat and pour the caramel into the buttered pan.
7. Wait a few hours or overnight to allow the caramel to set. Using a chef’s knife or other heavy knife, cut the caramel into strips and then into desired shapes.