First, please vote for my blog for The Kitchn’s The Homies Awards. I need to place in the top five to make it to the next round. This would really help my dreams come true and could change my blog and possibly my life. It would be a dream come true, but I need your help. Please, even if you don’t leave comments and just like to lurk, please take a moment to click the link, sign up for an account and click the +1 next to Pies and Plots. You should see the number of nominations go up. I cannot begin to tell you how much this would mean to me!
Second, don’t forget to enter to win the Hungarian shortbread from Frog Hollow Farm. I know you will love that little treat! Now onto your regularly scheduled blog post.
I’m not one to be all fanatical about spoilers. I realize in the strange world in which we live where most of us don’t watch shows when they actually air and yet feel the need to share all about them on social media, I need to be smart if I don’t want to know who won Top Chef or what happened on Grey’s Anatomy.
When I actually care about avoiding spoilers, I try to watch the show in a timely manner and avoid social media. I’ve also learned to enjoy shows even when I know what happens.
But the Olympics are killing me. I can’t get interested in watching twenty bobsled runs or ten ice skating short programs, which I swear are all the same, when I know what happens. So I’ve been spending my days avoiding spoliers like it’s my job. Coincidentally it pays about the same as blogging
My local news is great. They announce when they are going to talk spoliers. They appear on the screen while they Olympic music plays. When the music’s over, so are the spoliers. Awesome.
However, my frenemies over at NBC have a bit of a different tactic, in that they talk spoliers all the time, without warning. The moment I turn on Today in the morning, they are talking about results. Ted Ligity this, Bode Miller that. I love NBC Nightly News and their Olympic stories, but I can’t watch them because I have to turn it on mute and look away before I know who fell while ice skating. Doesn’t NBC want me to enjoy their Olympic coverage?
Well, at least I definitely enjoyed Ina’s Salted Caramels. I have a thing for homemade caramels. I simplified the process here by removing the step of warming the cream and butter before adding to the cooked sugar and these are the best caramels I’ve ever made. They set perfectly, are super creamy, and have that rich, complex flavor we all want from caramels with that perfect crunch of sea salt. I say these are gold medalists, no spoiler alert necessary!
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Maldon Sea Salt, for sprinkling
Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment, leaving overhang for easy removal later.
In a large saucepan, cook sugar, corn syrup, and water over medium-high heat. Without stirring, bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture is a deep amber color. If you need to swirl the pan, you may do so gently.
Remove the pan from the heat once it is the proper color, and add the cream, butter, and vanilla. Place the pan back on the heat and stir until any clumps have dissolved. Stop stirring. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F.
Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour. Then cool completely in the refrigerator, about 2 additional hours. Cut into pieces and wrap with parchment or wax paper. Caramels may be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten