Caramel candy is not only fun to make, but it also allows for a variety of flavor customizations, such as the ever-popular salted caramel. This is why it is such a disappointment when you go for a piece of caramel days later to find it has deteriorated into a gooey, melty mess. The problem is usually due to the candy being stored in improper conditions and is completely avoidable with the proper precautions. To ensure your caramel maintains its freshness for as long as possible, all you need to do is pay attention to moisture.
Caramel is, at its most simple, composed of a combination of sugar, water, and dairy. It's crucial to keep the moisture levels of your confection as stable as possible, since absorbing any additional water will drastically change its texture and sometimes flavor. Start by wrapping them individually in wax paper, twisting the ends to close, then storing them on their own in an airtight container in a cool, dry area of your kitchen. This will create a waterproof seal around the candies. At room temperature, soft caramel candies will last for as long as nine months. You can also store your caramels in the freezer in a container or bag to further extend their shelf life; there, they will last as long as a year. If you do so, however, be sure to protect your teeth by letting them warm up to room temperature before eating.
How To Save Caramel Candies That Have Gone Gooey
The moisture of other foods or even in the air around caramel candies can greatly impact their shelf life, since they tend to absorb additional water very easily. Fail to store your caramel properly and it will take on moisture, meaning that its texture becomes slimy and liquified. When allowed to progress, it can even change the flavor and smell of the caramel to one that is unpleasant and vinegary. At that point, it's gone bad and should be discarded. If you make a mistake and your caramel does end up getting just a little mushy, however, you can salvage it to some extent.
One option is to reheat the caramel into its liquid form to evaporate out the water that was absorbed, and then shape it back into candies. Note that this may result in the caramels taking on a darker color than before, which may be undesirable. A second option, which is probably easier, is to transform the candies into a caramel sauce by melting them down with heavy cream. This can then be used to make many delicious dishes, such as a rich chocolate caramel tart or a delicious banana caramel milkshake.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.