Outside of the Breadbox and www.outsideofthebreadbox.com is in no way affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by Outside the Breadbox, Inc., a Colorado corporation, or its federally-registered trademark, Outside the Breadbox®. If, however, you would like to try the best gluten-free baked goods in the world, visit www.outsidethebreadbox.com.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Culinary School - Session 82: Soft Caramels, Butter Caramel, Peanut Butter Nougat and Toffee

Culinary School: Session 82 (03.06.15)

Soft Caramels, Butter Caramel, Peanut Butter Nougat and Toffee

It's (finally) candy time again...

Get those Tupperware containers out of the locker! After weeks focusing on showpiece techniques, it's once again time to eat what we make.

The next two weeks will primarily focus on creating assorted bits of deliciousness and dipping them in chocolate. We begin this session with an array of caramel products: Soft Caramel Chews, rich Butter Caramel, crumbly Peanut Butter Nougat and crunchy Butter Toffee. 

Caramels are a logical segue from the just-concluded introductory unit on Sugar. After all, Caramel is just Sugar in one of its most enticing states, deep flavors unlocked by breaking down the chemical structure at 340 degrees Fahrenheit.

The differences between these caramel recipes are in the ratios of sugar, cream and butter as well as the final heating temperature. Crunchy products are created with a greater proportion of sugar over higher heat. Chewy caramels are possible by adding more butter and cream and by keeping the temperature lower (~250 degrees Fahrenheit).

Either way, they're all getting dipped in chocolate.

Ginger and Jalapeno Infused Chocolate Enrobed Caramel

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (03.06.15):
  • Flour: 24,240g
  • Eggs: 15,800g (316x)
  • Sugar: 24,000g
  • Butter: 15,715g
  • Milk/Cream: 16,020g
  • Chocolate: 4,600g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Recipes -


    Soft Caramels (Caramel Mous Enrobes)

    Soft, caramel chews coated in Chocolate. 

    Focus Technique:
    - Directly Infusing a Caramel with Flavoring Ingredients: It is possible to enhance a caramel with various flavors by adding them directly to the mixture as it cooks (although this method would not be appropriate for delicate ingredients, such as fresh herbs, that would wilt or burn in the high heat of a Caramel). The caramel is simply strained when it reaches the final desired temperature. For this batch, we used fresh ginger and jalapeño.

    Calibrating Candy Thermometers

    Infusing Caramel with Ginger and Jalapeño Peppers

    Making a Caramel

    Straining Infused Ingredients from Caramel

    Cooling Sheet of Soft Caramel

    Ginger and Jalapeno Infused Chocolate Enrobed Caramel


    Butter Caramel (Caramel au Beurre)

    Squares of caramel-coated almonds enrobed in Dark Chocolate

    Focus Technique:
    - Emulsifying Butter with Sugar: Butter and sugar are like oil and water - they don't want to mix. As a result, they must be slowly combined so that they hold in suspension. This is particularly important when there is a high ratio of butter to sugar, as with this recipe. The mixture will best stay in suspension if the butter is at room temperature and is added slowly and in small pieces. If the butter is added all at once, the mixture will break and the Butter Caramel will be greasy.
    - Enrobing Individual Pieces of Caramel in Chocolate: Enrobing individual pieces of candy in chocolate is a labor intensive process. Each piece is dipped by hand into perfectly tempered chocolate held in the "Working Range" (i.e. 86 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit). If the chocolate becomes too cold, the coating will be too thick. Care must also be taken to allow excess chocolate to drip from each piece. This is important because as each dipped piece is placed on a clean sheet tray, excess chocolate can form a "foot" (i.e. an undesirable pool of thick chocolate at the base of each candy).

    Cooling Butter Caramel with Toasted Almonds

    Tempering Large Bowl of Chocolate

    Chocolate Enrobing Tools

    Pieces of Toasted Almond Butter Caramel Enrobed in Chocolate


    Peanut Butter Nougat (Nougat au Beurre de Cacahouete)

    A crumbly yet chewy peanut butter confection, perfect for anyone who likes a sweet and salty combination.

    Focus Technique:
    Combining Like-Temperature Ingredients: Peanut Butter Nougat is more or less a mixture of peanut butter with an Italian Meringue that has a very high sugar-to-egg ratio. In order to get the two ingredients to fold together easily, it is best to have them both at the same temperature. As the Italian Meringue will be warm from the sugar syrup that is part of that recipe, the peanut butter should also be gently heated until warm and smooth. 

    Warming Peanut Butter

    Powdered Sugar for Dusting

    Forming Peanut Butter Nougat

    Peanut Butter Nougat Coated in Dark Chocolate

    Peanut Butter Nougat Coated in Dark Chocolate


    Toffee (Toffee au Beurre)

    Another sweet and salty combo, this time with a crunch. 

    Focus Technique:
    - Topping Caramel as it Cools: Rather than mix additional ingredients such as nuts into a caramel, they can simply be used to top the candy. However, caramel (particularly recipes that include a high ratio of sugar or which are brought to a higher cooking temperature) will set quickly. Toppings must be placed immediately after the caramel is poured or they will not adhere to the surface.

    Sheet of Nut and Salt Covered Toffee

    Pieces of Chocolate Dipped Nut and Salt Toffee

    Chocolate Dipped Nut and Salt Toffee

    Next - Session 83: Marshmallow, Rocky Road, Peppermint Patties and Branchlis

    Previous - Sessions 81: Advanced Chocolate Techniques

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
    Stay connected with Outside of the Breadbox on Facebook, view on Instagram,
    follow on Twitter @BreadChefMark. And sign up for the email list.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment