Sugar Crystals in Caramels?
Making Homemade Caramels
Question about Sugar Crystals in Caramels:
We made caramels last night. It seemed to take forever to get to the 246-248 degree stage.
Finally it made it and we poured the caramels into a glass 8 X 8 pan. The candy on the edges is perfect, nice and chewy. The candy in the center of the pan is sugared.
What did we do wrong? Is there a way to salvage the sugared candy?
I know just what you mean about the sugar crystals in your caramels. It's grainy like the sugar hasn't dissolved.
That's one of the biggest problems with making caramel candy, apart from the patience needed. :-)
First of all, be sure the pan and utensils are very clean and dry. One little foreign particle stuck to the pan or spoon can bring on sugar crystals.
As you are cooking the candy mixture, you need to keep a pastry brush handy and dip it in water and brush the insides of the pan to keep sugar crystals from forming along the sides and causing the caramel to become 'sugared.'
It only takes one little tiny crystal to form and it can start a chain reaction throughout the whole batch. All the sugar wants to change back into crystal form at the first opportunity.
Another tip is to stir in a swirling motion (like a figure 8) rather than the traditional circular stirring method. This may help you prevent getting as much candy syrup up the sides of the pan. Of course, once the sugar is completely dissolved, you usually STOP stirring when making caramels.
When it's time to pour out the caramel, don't scrape the bottom of the pan. Crystals may have formed along the pan surface and you don't want to scrape them into your finished caramels. Of course, you can always scrape it into a separate little dish for you to taste test once it cools down slightly. :)
Finally, adding an "interfering agent" like a little lemon juice in the beginning can "interfere" and help prevent the sugar from crystallizing. If you are using a recipe that calls for corn syrup, that is also an interfering agent.
I wish I knew of a quick fix for your grainy sugared candy. Unfortunately, most research I've done indicates that it's too late once the candy has cooled.
Is it still edible? Maybe you can keep that for your own private stash and make another batch for 'company.'
Hope that info. helps some.