While they say you learn something new every day, I am not sure I believe it is EVERY day. Often, to be sure. But I feel like, once school is behind you anyway, the literally every day thing may not necessarily continue to apply.
Today happened to be a learn something new day for me. I learned that you can make homemade “corn syrup”. I wanted something sweet, but not chocolate. I decided on hard caramels. I had all but one ingredient: light corn syrup. I didn’t want to go to the store for that one little thing. So I consulted the internet to find out just how necessary the corn syrup is. In the past I have made hard caramel with just sugar and water, so I know it works. But I wanted to make the creamier version of the candy this time and was not sure if simply omitting the corn syrup would still work or not.
I found no definitive answer on that front (though I am inclined to say the corn syrup is not totally necessary, I could be wrong), but I did find that you can make a homemade substitute called invert syrup, and while it requires some time and patience, it couldn’t be easier to do! I even managed it – and the subsequent caramels – without a candy thermometer by using the drop test method but the less fearless out there may want to invest in the candy thermometer. (I will be getting one from J at some point that he has no use for, cause some things I won’t chance it, but hard candy is usually simple enough to just do the drop test to check if it is done or not.)
The invert syrup requires only three ingredients:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
All you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and place it over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a boil, then wash down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals that may be present. I know the science behind this, I just forget the specific terminology but the gist of it is when making candy, undissolved sugar getting into this sort of sugar syrup mixture at this point will make for less than desirable results. I speak from experience. So, just trust me when I say to not skip this step, tempting though it may be to do so. Place the candy thermometer in and let it boil without stirring until it reaches 230°F. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. It is now ready to use. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.
I saw no mention of the shelf life on this but I’d imagine it ought to last a good while. I love knowing this recipe now, as corn syrup is not something I tend to keep on hand. I do however keep sugar and cream of tartar on hand. This is going to be so handy, being able to just make my own “corn syrup” when I spontaneously decide to make something that requires it! It looks and tastes just like the Karo light corn syrup, and of course, functions like it in recipes.
Once the syrup had cooled, I moved on to making my caramels. Pardon my lazy photography, at this point I’ve had a very long day, and I’ve been dealing with insomina the past week or so, and am exhausted. Taking time to do anything more than this for pictures for this post simply is not happening.
I had planned to make the recipe a second time just to get a good feel for it, then share. Unfortunately I had only bookmarked the recipe on my phone’s browser. I was having some problems with my phone that required a factory reset to fix. Silly me, I thought using the stock browser whilst logged in to my Samsung account would, oh, I dunno… save my bookmarks so I would not lose them in the event of a factory reset or a new device. Apparently being logged into the browser with Samsung means NOTHING because my bookmarks are all gone. If there is a way to get them back it’s buried in some obscure location in the settings that I cannot find. I tried just searching the internet for the recipe again (as well as a butterscotch recipe I was really excited to try out) but while of course I can find plenty of others, I can’t find the same ones again. Figures.
I forgot to grease my wax paper so they all stuck. Whoops. I would normally use parchment paper but don’t have any. Popping these into the freezer for a while helps loosen them though so all is not lost. Just, next time I really need to remember to grease the wax paper if I am still without parchment paper. Actually what I really want to do is get some candy molds. But we’ll see. My beloved craft store back in Pittsburgh has an awesome selection of candy making supplies. Maybe I’ll ask my dad to take a look for some molds the next time he is in the vicinity of the store.
I stuck lollipop sticks into some of them, just for fun. I’ve been wanting lollipops lately for some reason. I need some good round lollipop molds, too. Ok, don’t need them. Just want them. Same difference right? 😅
Until next time. xoxo