Gluten-Free Does Not Mean Flavor Free
We decided we wanted to make our favorite Caramels last night. Everything was going fine. I had toasted the pecans and buttered the pot and pan. I was at the point of just waiting for it to get to the right temperature of 242* - it was about 225 or so - when the candy thermometer fell into the pot. Well, if you know ANYTHING about making caramel, you know you cannot just reach in and grab anything out of that hot caramel. I kept trying to maneuver it out of the caramel with my wooden spoon and finally succeeded. Then I had to hold it against the side of the pan until the thermometer was cool enough to grab hold of the top (it was covered in caramel and too hot to just grab it). I carefully got a hold of it with my thumb and forefinger and tried to clip it back on the side of the pan. I managed but then I couldn't see the scale because it was covered in caramel. I tried to scrape some of the caramel off with the spoon but that didn't work so well. So I had to take it out of the pan and carry it over to the sink. Thinking if I didn't hurry, the caramel would scorch or burn while I was trying to figure out what to do about the thermometer. I didn't want to put cold water on hot glass (yeah, just don't do that - if you have ever put something hot in cold glass or something cold in hot glass, you will know not to do it again) and had to wait until I figured the glass was cool enough to run water over it. While trying to clean it off so that it could be read, I thought about how the reading would drop and take time to come back up to what the temperature was in the pot. Still worrying the caramel was going to scorch or burn, I yelled for David to come and help. He came wandering in at a snail's pace and finally started stirring the pot while I tried to get the thermometer clean enough to read.
I finally got it back in the pot and was trying to read it and the caramel looked too thick. I knew this wasn't good so I gave up on the concept of reading the thermometer and just poured the mixture out of the pot into the waiting pan. It solidified almost immediately - I knew this wasn't good LOL At any rate, I added the Kahlua (instead of vanilla) and the nuts - the nuts would barely spread around in the caramel. I then put it in the fridge for a few minutes and decided to put some chocolate chips on top. I figured the caramel was hot enough to melt the chips. I pulled the pan back out of the refrigerator and sprinkled chocolate chips over the caramel. Once the chips where melted, I put the pan back in the refrigerator (using pot holders, of course - that pan was too hot to hold with bare hands). I put it on the metal rack in the fridge to bring the temp down faster. Once it was cool, I cut it into squares, but it was more like breaking it into squares. When we tasted it, it reminded us of Heath bars.
Much too crunchy to be considered caramel LOL I do not know what temperature it was at when I pulled it off the stove but I wouldn't mind making it like this again (sans dropping the thermometer in the pot :P ). They came out delicious even though they didn't come out soft like caramels.