Happy Stormy Monday!
We sure hope you slept well amidst a tumultuous noisy night, we sure as hell didn’t. We’ll just go ahead and accept its one of those groggy testy Mondays and deal with it. However it was a beautiful, if ridiculously hot, weekend and a few GFM vendors were sharing their delicious wares at Brooklyn Lyceum’s Food and Craft market. Did you get to stock up on your kimchi and soda and tempeh? If not make sure to come out to the next market May 22! It’s bigger than ever and will probably blow your mind. We are hoping it will.
We are also very happy to present this week’s vendor blender: Token Confections
WHAT IS TOKEN CONFECTIONS?
I’m in publishing, which is similar to being unemployed, so I started making gourmet caramels for a little extra cash. I have about half a dozen flavors, which I rotate depending on the season, and I’m just about to introduce a dark chocolate butternut crunch to the line-up.
HOW DID THE INSPIRATION FOR IT COME ABOUT?
About a year ago I took a confection making class at The Institute of Culinary Education (I highly recommend their recreational classes), where we learned how to make all sorts of sweets—truffles, bon-bons, butternut crunch, turtles and of course, caramels. I love working with chocolate, but not as much as I like working with sugar. There’s a lot of chemistry involved, which I find intriguing.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR INGREDIENTS?
Whole Foods and my local farmer’s market. I use a French chocolate and glucose (caramel needs a liquid sugar to give it that nice chewy texture and I prefer to use a cane-based glucose over corn syrup), which I get from an importer in Redhook.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AND CARE TO SHARE A RECIPE?
My favorite is whichever flavor is the newest! I just finished tweaking my latest recipe, which I’ll debut this summer—crème fresh caramels with honey and walnuts, topped with a citrus fleur de sel. I’m pretty into that right now. Here’s a good, basic recipe to start.
A candy thermometer (it has to go up to at least 400º degrees)
A Silpat or similar non-stick baking sheet placed over a heatproof tray
A tart frame
1 cup cream
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup water
In a tall thick-bottom pot, combine sugar, glucose and water and mix until ingredients are slushy. Begin to cook over a med-high flame. With a pastry brush and water, wipe down any sugar granules stuck to the sides of pot (they can cause the caramel to recrystalize). At this point, do not stir anymore. Let the mixture come to a boil and continue to simmer until it turns golden amber. Remove pan from heat and add the butter. Let it sit for a minute, then stir. Be careful: the moisture from the butter will release as soon as you stir it. When butter is melted, add the cream. Whisk together until the mixture is emulsified and return to a med-high flame. Insert the thermometer into the pot and continue to cook, stirring only occasionally, until mixture reaches 240º (if you prefer a chewier caramel, you can take it as high as 250º). Remove the pot and gently stir until bubbling ceases, then pour into frame. When caramel is firm to the touch, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (overnight is better). When the caramel has set, cut into squares. Refrigerated, they’ll last about three weeks.
If you’re making chocolate caramels, add the chocolate in with the butter. Other flavors—vanilla, liquor or spices—work best when added to the cream before you start.
WHAT DO YOUR CARAMELS GO WELL WITH? WHAT DOES IT NOT GO WELL WITH?
Caramel goes with everything! Sugar is a real team player, that’s why I like it so much and caramel pairs well with pretty much anything. I like the peanut butter caramels served with sliced pear or a crisp Granny Smith apple and the salted chocolate caramels are delicious with red wine or port.
WEBSITE? CONTACT? WHERE ELSE MIGHT WE FIND YOUR AWESOME FOODSTUFFS?
For now I’m selling at local markets like GFM and in the future, who knows? I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.