Caramels Turned Bad!
My caramels turned out beautifully. I gave them out for Christmas gifts.
Now I regret that because after a few days (less than one week) they all turned to a grainy, sugary, yuck! Some kind friends said they still tasted good.
I think they are terrible. What happened?
I'm sorry to hear your caramels turned bad and ended up embarrassing you. That can be so frustrating.
Homemade caramels have a pretty short shelf life. They can get a bit crumbly and grainy after a few days, but I'm not sure if that was your problem.
You said they were sugary, so I suspect you had a renegade sugar crystal or two that got out of hand and took over, binding with others and creating a mess.
You have to be really careful when making caramels that you wash down the sides of the pan with water and a pastry brush to avoid crystallization.
Also, when you pour out the candy, DON'T scrape the bottom of the pan into the main mixture. That's a notorious hiding place for stray crystals, etc.
Finally, the change in the candy texture from wonderful to dismal, could simply have been the ingredients used. Strange, I know, but different caramel recipes call for different ingredients. Some types of sugars and syrups tend to go grainy quicker than others. I'm not a scientist, so don't ask me the how's and why's, but they tell me it's true. :-)
I don't think your friends were just being kind. The caramels did probably still have a nice flavor. It was probably just the texture that was not as expected.
Next time you might want to add just a squirt of lemon juice to the mixture in the beginning of the cooking stage. It is one of the interfering agents that help keep crystallization from happening.
I hope your next batch is a greater success and you won't have to say your caramels turned bad.