Tag Archives: caramel

hard caramel dots with sea salt

#MarthaBakes Caramel Dots

Wow, it’s been a few months since I’ve written up a Martha Stewart recipe but it always seems a bit too hot to be baking up a storm during the summer. Now that fall is starting to creep in, spending days inside doesn’t seem so blasphemous.

I was recently longing for a sweet treat but didn’t feel like leaving the house to go purchase some cookies or something, so I turned to Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook for an easy recipe.

I came across these caramel dots, which are actually part of a sub-recipe for cake decorations, but who needs a whole cake when you can just eat some caramel?

Additionally, the recipe was super simple: sugar, water, lemon juice!

Step 1: Mix sugar and water and lemon juice.

water and sugar in the pot
water and sugar in the pot

Step 2: Heat until it turns into caramel

bubbling sugar
bubbling sugar

Step 3: Drizzle bits of caramel onto parchment paper* and let cool

*When the caramel was still hot (and PS it was really hot – I burnt my finger and it blistered because the caramel stuck to it and I couldn’t get it off – so don’t touch it!) I pinched bits of black sea salt on top to make a sweet-salty dessert.

stained glass-looking caramel dot
stained glass-looking caramel dot

Thoughts on this recipe:

  1. I don’t have overly processed white sugar, only pure cane sugar which is pretty coarse. I think this resulted in too grainy a caramel.
  2. These dots are super hard candies. Definitely more of a sucking candy. Next time I would add a tablespoon or two of butter to make the texture creamier and try for a chewier caramel.
  3. The ones with sugar tasted a lot more interesting and less overwhelmingly JUST SUGAR than the regular ones.
  4. The caramel dots were quite pretty – almost like stained glass.

This recipe definitely served the purpose of sating a sweet tooth and would look good on a cake, but one or two was enough.

hard caramel dots with sea salt
hard caramel dots with sea salt

Verdict: Have I ever said something was TOO sugary? This might be the first time.

Okay, time to capitalize on this dark rainy day to make chocolate chip oatmeal cookies!! 🙂

 

Martha Stewart coconut pecan caramel cookies

Me & Martha: Pecan Caramel Cookies

Really these are called Coconut Pecan Caramel Sandwich Cookies in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook (that I’m baking my way through), but since I couldn’t really taste the coconut and actually forgot I had put coconut in the cookie dough, I’m leaving that descriptor out as it could be misleading.

Yes, I followed the directions pretty thoroughly this time through, apart from cutting the recipe in half, yet again. (Either this book is written specifically for people who entertain or have large families, or they create recipes to fall into convenient quantities…like 1/4 cup of coconut…since an 1/8 cup of coconut hardly seems worth mentioning, right?)

Well anyway, I toasted up my unsweetened shredded coconut (actually the recipe calls for sweetened so maybe that’s why I can’t taste anything in the finished product) and pecans, pulverized them and mixed them into the shortbread dough.

pecan and coconut cookie dough
pecan and coconut cookie dough

After the multiple rounds of chilling, cookie cutting, and rechilling, my pecan shortbread hearts were on the wire rack cooling and I could get down the best part: the Caramel Filling!

final caramel sauce!
final caramel sauce!

I never use a candy thermometer, preferring instead to rely on my senses and sense of timing…which is probably why I don’t make a lot of candy products.

So I love that this recipe doesn’t instruct with a candy thermometer, but rather just color and texture cues.

In the end, making this caramel sauce was quite easy. Here’s what I did:

  1. Boil water and and about 4x more sugar until it starts turning a deep amber color, not stirring. [And this part from Martha I really like: continually “wash down” the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization. It ensures that you are paying a lot of attention to not let the caramel burn or create a nasty mess on the sides of your pot.]
  2. Remove from heat and slowly pour in some heavy whipping cream.
  3. Then quickly stir in little chunks of butter until the whole thing becomes creamy and smooth and glossy.
  4. Really keep stirring to avoid clumping.
  5. Once it’s totally smooth, let it cool just a bit before drizzling over your cookies.

In the book, the cookies were adorable spring flower shaped with holes punched out of the middle so that the caramel sauce would peek through the top of the sandwich cookie.

In my reality, I only have a heart cookie cutter and, as I learned from the Linzer Heart Cookies, cutting a hole out of the middle of shortbread cookies is a time-consuming and pain-staking task that I was not up for doing again. So my cookies are straight up sandwich cookies, no cute hole. And frankly, I only made half of them into sandwiches…the other half I’m dunking into my bowl of caramel sauce. And that is perfect.

caramel sauce over pecan cookies
caramel sauce over pecan cookies

Even the cookies on their own are delish – they remind me of the Pecan Sandies that my mom used to love back when she could eat nuts.

Chai tea with a smidge of milk works really well with these. And now I’m going to buy ice cream so I have a reason to keep making this yummy caramel sauce!