Valentines Day is right around the corner and a Perfect excuse to make these Caramel Hearts. I consider this another wonderful holiday where I can think of ten million excuses to eat more candy. Chocolate specifically, because my sweet tooth is always calling for it. Candy making is something spectacular. It is a wonderful creative outlet that your loved ones can really enjoy. Valentines Day is about showing those close to you just how much you love them. What better way to share the love than with a delicious and adorable homemade candy.
To Make Caramel Hearts is fairly simple and you can personalize them anyway you'd like. Each chocolate is filled with a creamy caramel and can be easily accomplished with the use of a few simple tools, ingredients, and a silicone heart candy mold. Try topping these little treats with some edible gold luster dust, or follow my lead and pipe hugs and kisses with white chocolate, colored a heartfelt red.
I prefer using silicone molds for easy removal of the candies later. Also, take note to use a large pot or pan when making the caramel filling. It will boil up and quadruple in size when you make the necessary ingredient additions. Candy making can be dangerous if you don't take precautions and pay attention. I've burnt myself on molten sugar before… and I never forgot the experience. It is absolutely horrible so be careful and this is not a recipe to be made around children.
- 1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups high-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Heat about 1 inch of water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. When the water starts to simmer, place a stainless steel bowl on top of the saucepan and add the chocolate to the bowl. Begin to stir and turn the chocolate in the bowl. Melt chocolate slowly over a low heat while stirring. Be sure not to burn the chocolate.
- When the chocolate is melted and smooth, and slightly warm (not hot) you are ready to start adding it to the molds. Once the chocolate is a smooth melted consistency, use a paintbrush to coat the inside of the silicone heart molds. Paint a slightly thick layer, coating all the crevices of the heart shapes. Set aside to let the chocolate dry and harden.
- While you are waiting for the chocolate to harden, make the caramel filling : In a medium bowl- whisk together the cream, butter, and salt. set aside.
- In a large heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Using a moistened pastry brush, brush down the sides of the pan to remove sugar granules from above the sugar syrup mix. This helps to avoid crystallization and guarantee a smooth caramel.
- Clip an instant-read or candy thermometer to the side of the pan with the probe immersed in the syrup. Do not stir again, as this will cause crystallization and cause a grainy texture to your finished caramel.
- Place the pot with the sugar syrup over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil without stirring. When the syrup reaches 250°F slowly whisk in the cream and butter.
- Be careful as the sugar syrup will bubble up and quadruple in size, hence why we are using a large pan. Stop whisking once you've added all the butter mixture.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat. Let the caramel come to a boil without stirring. It will start off as a soft yellow and eventually darken to auburn brown caramel color. Remove from the heat when the caramel comes back to 250°F.
- Whisk in the vanilla extract quickly.
- When the caramel has completely cooled, spoon a small amount of caramel into each candy mold, leaving enough room to seal the chocolate with the final layer of chocolate.
- Spoon a small amount of chocolate into each candy mold and smooth it to cover the caramel, working quickly. Once each heart is filled, use a large angled spatula or bench scraper to scrape off the excess chocolate from the entire top of the silicone mold. The will leave you with smooth bottomed chocolates.
- Set the mold aside to allow the chocolate to harden, about an hour.
- When the caramel hearts are hardened you can pop them out of the silicone mold.
- Now dress the chocolates with edible luster dust, or pipe with melted white chocolate/ royal icing. Even use fun colors for a personalized chocolate design.