Why did both batches of caramels turn out hard?

catherinetDecember 13, 2012

I've been making caramels for years. They're usually too soft, but really good. I make them with butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.

I made one batch and they were really chewy. Filling-pulling-out-chewy, if you don't let it warm up in your mouth first.
Since this was to be a present for someone, I made a second batch. I used a different pan, a different thermometer and and brought it up to heat faster than the first.....thinking I cooked it too long the first time. (I did test the thermometers in boiling water before using them).

Now the second batch is hard too. The only thing I really changed this year was the brand of brown sugar. I usually use Kroger, but this time used Marsh.

Its been cold and dry out.......if the weather makes a difference.

The second batch I made, I stopped at 242 degrees F, instead of 244 with the first one.

Any ideas why they both got so hard? Do you think harder caramels are as acceptable as really soft ones? It doesn't take them long to soften up in the mouth.
I just can't make this for a 3rd time.
Thanks for any tips.

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Weather can make a difference, as can altitude, but if the barometric pressure is off very much from normal, you can get different results. I like hard caramels, and mine always come out soft, but I usually use them as part of a filling, and so that is okay. I use cream instead of SCM - you might try that if you like them softer. I don't have the recipe here, as I am still in Texas.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 5:31PM
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Thanks Lars.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Catherine, each Christmas I make caramels, using the same recipe you did. Have done for years. I think you either cooked them to too high a heat or the humidity affected the candy making.

Some years, no matter what I do, my caramels don't turn out exactly right. I have always thought humidity affected the product. I know that in the dry, high elevation mountain states, divinity is really affected by temperature/humidity.

If anything, my caramels might be a bit too soft. Can you melt these rock hard candies and use for something else?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 10:20PM
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