Saturday, October 18, 2014

Soft Buttery Vanilla Caramel Dex+

Caramel. Gooey, buttery, amazing caramel. What is fall, or Halloween, without it? Dex+ is all about removing fructose and adding fiber, but caramel's primary ingredient, sugar, is half fructose. I wasn't sure what I'd end up with after replacing most of the sugar with dextrose, but clearly the only option was to give it a try.

Soft, buttery vanilla caramel, Dex+


Here's what I got: a soft, sticky, buttery, amazingly delicious caramel! It is less sweet than regular caramels, which I very much prefer. What do other people think? My work friends think I should open a candy store! :)

I tried several times, trying temperatures higher than the usual "caramel" temperature, looking for more chew and caramel flavor. I found that taking the temperature up to 365°F yields a caramel that is not quite burned, but has harsh, bitter undertones that we do not care for. However, going up to 240°F makes a delicious thick, creamy, buttery soft caramel that we wish we could keep eating.

Even though this is a Dex+ recipe, we find that it is best to have the caramel after eating or drinking something with fiber in it, or at least not when we're hungry, to keep from over-eating. This is because the calorie density is high; you can eat too much before your "full-o-meter" registers that you should stop. I know I've gone too far if my appetite is increased later that day or the next morning, at which point I'll drink some water with Benefiber in it, to help adjust back again. I may try doubling the fiber in the recipe next time, to see if that helps too

Soft, Buttery Vanilla Caramel Dex+

Yield: about 340 g (12 oz) plus about 14 g (⅜ oz) for tasting.
The texture is similar to Milky Way caramel. Caramel will temporarily hold its shape at room temperature, and will gradually flow to fill its container. Caramel becomes firm if refrigerated.

Ingredients

  • 57 g (1/4 cup 1/2 stick) best quality salted butter
  • 58 g (1/4 cup) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse or flaked sea salt
  • 18 g (2 ½ Tbsp) Benefiber or similar
  • 170 g dextrose
  • 44 g sugar
  • 81 g light corn syrup (zero high fructose stuff)
  • 2 Tbsp water

Directions

  1. Arrange near the cooktop:
    1. Large bowl of water, in case of burns. Wear jeans, closed shoes, and remove distractions. Review candy burn prevention tips
    2. Candy thermometer.
    3. Dish for hot, sticky whisk and candy thermometer.
    4. For induction cooktop only, place an oven-proof silicone mat on the cooktop for easier cleanup.
    5. Generously buttered 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
    6. Butter cut into slabs, and microwaved with cream just long enough to melt the butter.
    7. 1/2 tsp vanilla, in small dish.
    8. 1/4 tsp salt, in small dish.
  2. In a 2-quart saucepan, mix Benefiber, dextrose and sugar. Add corn syrup and water. Over medium-high heat, mix together with a whisk and bring to a boil. As the mixture boils up, use the  whisk to wash sugars off the sides of the pan, then reduce to medium. Stirring is no longer necessary.
  3. Insert a candy thermometer. Cook until 340°F (171°C), about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat; it will be a light amber color around the edges. Carefully add the butter and cream mixture, avoiding splashing. The candy will bubble and foam up as the water in the cream boils.  Stir with the candy thermometer to incorporate. Continue stirring until the temperature drops below 225°F (107°C).
  4. Return to medium heat, cooking until the caramel reaches a temperature of 250°F (121°C).  Immediately remove from heat, use thermometer to stir in 1/4 tsp coarse salt and vanilla extract, and pour into the prepared pan.
  5. Cool completely, then unmold.  If the caramel is too soft to work with, refrigerate to firm up.

Temperature Quick-reference:

  1. Start on medium-high heat, bring to boil, reduce to medium.
  2. 340°F (171°C), remove from heat, add butter and cream.
  3. 225°F (107°C), return to medium heat.
  4. 250°F (121°C), remove from heat, add salt and vanilla.

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