Monday, March 19, 2012

Caramels with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

I have wanted to make caramels for a long time. When I was visiting Toronto, my mom had left me a book with a recipe for caramels and thye didn't look too hard. So as soon as I got home, one of the first things I made was the caramels.

They took a long time (about an hour) because I had the stove on pretty low, but I think cooking it slowly yielded a great result. The caramels were the perfect texture - soft and chewy - and a beautiful caramel colour. A sprinkling of Himalayan pink sea salt on top added a lot to the taste as well.

I also individually wrapped each square in wax paper, so they were very cute and easy to give away. The only thing I'm not sure about is the storage temperature - some of them peeled away easily from the wax, but other ones stuck a little bit.

Future caramel ideas - flavoured caramels, like lavender or raspberry, chocolate caramels, or chocolate-covered caramels. Mmmm.

Caramels with Pink Sea Salt
Adapted from Miette
Yield: 64 1-inch squares
Print recipe

1 1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 cup whole milk
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
3 tbsp water
Himalayan sea salt, for sprinkling
  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving a slight overhang on all sides.

  2. In a medium pot, combine cream, milk, sugar, brown sugar, salt, butter, corn syrup, and water.

  3. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot.

  4. Place over medium-low heat and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture 246F, 45-60 minutes.

  5. Once mixture reaches the correct temperature, remove from heat and pour into prepared pan.

  6. Let cool for 15 minutes and then sprinkle with sea salt.

  7. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate pan for 30-90 minutes, until set.

  8. Lift caramel out of pan using parchment paper handles. Place on waxed paper on top of a cutting board.

  9. Measure 1-inch intervals and then cut the caramel into 1-inch squares.

  10. Wrap each caramel in a square of waxed paper and twist both ends. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Turkish Lentil Soup

A lot has changed since the last time I posted. I quit Hawksworth. I got into the pastry program at VCC and I start classes on Monday. We were supposed to take a trip to France, but ended up in Turkey and Croatia instead. We had a wonderful time exploring countries we didn't know much about and of course eating some local cuisine. My favourite new food that we found in Turkey was lentil soup. It's thick and filling and a little bit spicy - so delicious. I found a recipe and I think it's a pretty good first attempt at recreating the Turkish version.

Turkish Lentil Soup
Adapted from this recipe on
Yield: 4-6 servings
Print recipe

2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup red lentils
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.

  2. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and sweat with a pinch of salt until onions are translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. Add tomato paste, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine.

  4. Add lentils, broth, and water, and bring to a boil.

  5. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender and lentils begin to fall apart, about 25 minutes.

  6. Remove pot from heat and use an immersion blender to blend soup until it is creamy but not completely puréed.

  7. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a lemon wedge to garnish, if desired.