Around Christmas-time, I wanted to make a batch of dark brown sugar sea-salt caramels. I bought this new Food Network brand candy thermometer at Kohls.
I have had the other type of candy thermometer that looks a little like a test tube for years, but I liked the idea of the flat thermometer which stays clipped on the pot better and is easier to read because the numbers aren't inside the glass like these are:
So I made my caramels which had to be cooked to the firm ball stage (245 degrees). If you know anything about candymaking, getting the temperature right is crucial. I figured that my new thermometer was trustworthy because, after all, it was from Food Network!
Wrong. My caramels were somewhere between the hard ball and hard crack stages, in other words, the thermometer was probably between 25 and 35 degrees off! Gah!
So I made another batch of caramels with my old faithful thermometer and they came out great. But what to do with the first batch? I mean, the taste was wonderful but the texture was a little scary: not hard enough to be broken into brittle chips (which was my initial inclination) and not soft enough to chew without seriously compromising your dental work.
I put it in the freezer and forgot about it until today. I had a quart of heavy cream that a friend gave me because she knew she wasn't going to use it and decided to try an experiment. I chopped up my frozen caramel brick as best I could and melted it with about a cup and a half of heavy cream over medium low heat.
It made the most exquisite caramel sauce EVER!
Don't you just love happy accidents? It's probably good that I don't know the exact way to make this sauce again, because it is so decadently delicious that I could eat the whole jar by myself. In fact, I kept sneaking spoonfuls at every opportunity. And then I decided to make some mocha ice cream to go with it...
What about you? Have you ever brought something back from the brink of failure?