Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chocolate Covered Maraschino Cherry Flavored Caramel Hearts

Looking for the perfect Valentine's Day gift..
if your sweetie loves chocolate, cherry and caramel, you found it!
If you'd rather have cherry marshmallows, I made these for Valentine's Day last year.

My sweet aunt gave me a cookbook last year. But it wasn't just any cookbook.
 This is one that my great great-Aunt Mossie used! My mom dearly loved this sweet lady
 that helped my Memaw raise her daughters when my grandfather passed away. 
I was honored (and pretty excited) when my aunt gave it to me and immediately turned to the candy section. I was more than ok to see the occasional splotch and even a few well used pages. What yummy recipes! Plus with homemade caramels (click here for the ones I made last year) being one of my favorite candies, this one was going to happen! The syrup I added to this candy imparts a subtle cherry flavor. I used my trusty taste tester..sweet hunky hubby..and he gave his stamp of approval. So now, let's make some Valentine's candy!
The lady in the center is my Mom's Great-Aunt Mossie. 
I would love to have had the chance to meet her, but she passed the year before I was born. 
Don't you just love their dresses?! 
This photo would have been taken in the early 1900s.   :o)
 I found my cherry syrup @ Publix in the ice cream toppings section. My original plan was to use maraschino cherry juice, so I bought three jars of cherries. I just happened to see this syrup and decided to pick it up because, you know it looked so pretty. I'm so glad I did, because.. I made the first batch of caramels with less than desirable results. And by that I mean the candy never came together right and scorched something terrible! I had a wait a couple of days before I was able to restock my pantry and try again. You may have heard about a little bad weather we had here in Atlanta and even where we live a little south of the city. 
My pa-in-law was three hours getting home through Atlanta and my poor niece was stuck for 10 hours! 
So happy everyone made it home safe. Goodbye SnowJam 2014.
Okay..back to the candy. I was little nervous wondering if my new recipe would even work. It did! ..Go syrup!
Ingredients needed for cherry flavored caramels.
 ~granulated sugar~
~brown sugar~
 ~sweetened condensed milk~
 ~corn syrup~
 ~maraschino cherry syrup~
 Going for 245.5  I was too scared to go for 246 degrees, what with my earlier disaster and all.
Once you've reached desired temp and stirred in remaining ingredients, pour candy into prepared dish. 
I used an 8 inch square dish.
 Let candy cool and let set. I let mine sit overnight loosely covered. Cut candy with a long sharp knife using a gentle sawing motion. If you're not dipping it in chocolate, cut in cubes and wrap in waxed paper squares.
 These are really good dipped in chocolate..
but I have to tell you, the cherry flavor is more pronounced if you don't. 
 I used a couple of Wilton heart candy molds. 
Michael's and Hobby Lobby usually have these in stock this time of year. 
Pop these in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set.

Maraschino Cherry Flavored Caramels Recipe
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup maraschino cherry syrup
1/3 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (i used sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

Combine sugars, syrups and condensed milk in saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Attach candy thermometer and cook, stirring occasionally until thermometer reaches 246 degrees. Remove from heat, add butter, salt and flavorings mixing well. Pour into prepared dish. Avoid the temptation to scrape the pan. Let candy sit until completely cool and set. I let mine sit covered overnight.

*edit* I think when I make these again, I will try adding an additional 1/2 cup of the syrup. 
Just to amp up the cherry flavor! 

Praying You All Have a Safe and Blessed Day!
 Sugartown Sweets
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  1. I've never seen maraschino cherry syrup. I'll have to keep my eye out for that.

    I'm happy to hear everyone in your family survived the storm. It sure has been a crazy winter.

    Pinning for Valentine's Day.

    Beth @ Hungry Happenings

    1. Thank you so much Beth! This was the first time I had seen it myself. We'll be up in the 60s this weekend..crazy winter yes. And thank you for pinning too! :)