1 2 quart sauce pot preferably a heavy pan, like all-clad
6gramsdried candy cap mushroomsground to a fine powder, roughly 1 finely ground tablespoon
4oz/ 1 stick unsalted butter
Good pinch of fine salt
1cuplight corn syrupYou can also use a blend of half maple syrup, half corn syrup.
1cuplight brown sugar
Before starting, read through the whole recipe, and make sure you have the mise-en-place ready.
lightly grease a loaf pan with butter or oil. I like a loaf pan. In a wide heavy pot that will transfer heat evenly, melt all ingredients but the candy caps, stirring with a heat proof spatula or wooden utensil.
A cast iron dutch oven or enameled cast iron pan is perfect for high heat sugar work, but a good, heavy stainless steel (I don't recommend aluminum) pot will work too.
Cook the mixture on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the carmel hits exactly 240--soft ball stage. Pour a drop of caramel into a small cup of iced or cold water to test if it’s set, you want it to hold it’s shape, but still be soft. As long as it's hit 240 F, you're fine, don't cook it further.
When the caramel is set, do the next steps quickly: turn the heat off, remove the thermometer from the pot, stir in the candy caps,, then pour the mixture into your prepared pan using one motion--do not scrape the remaining caramel from the cooking pan. I use a loaf pan for these, or a square cake pan for double batches.
Allow the carmels to cool naturally on the counter. Hash temperature swings can break the emulsion, and make a grainy caramel, meaning you’ll have to remelt them. Re-melting can work, but it can be annoying.
Practice makes perfect
Sugar work isn't the easiest thing. If your caramels don't turn out the first time, keep practicing and you'll get it. Once you do, you'll realize the effort and attention to detail is worth it.