Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"Fleur de Baie" Caramels Part II: Update

Some interesting observations on those fleur de sel caramels I made a few weeks back, in which I replaced the sea salt with Old Bay. If you recall, I could not really taste the Old Bay, so I rolled the caramels in the stuff. I thought it had a fascinatingly salty, spicy, Old Bay taste - something I might eat on occasion, but not something that I would pass up.

Over the past few weeks, these caramels, which have sat in an often un-air-conditioned apartment in their own sealed up plastic container, have gotten a little more crumbly (maybe I just cooked them too fast). Another strange thing has happened at the same time: the Old Bay in the caramels has really gotten pronounced, so that you can taste it without having to roll it in Old Bay. This has resulted in my plain caramels taking on a subtle though still distinct Old Bay flavor, which is quite good. However, it has also resulted in those caramels that I rolled in Old Bay taking on an extremely strong Old Bay flavor that I can best describe as "wince-inducing" - it's like licking the salt and Old Bay off of a steamed crab, minus the crab taste. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm not used to licking crab shells for any reason. So in the future when I make these "fleur de baie" caramels, I will merely stick to integrating the Old Bay into the caramel itself, and not rolling it in Old Bay. Eventually, the Old Bay will be detectable, and will taste just fine.


Mairead said...

Interesting -- I actually tried to replicate your Old Bay experiment...only to find that nobody in NJ seems to stock the stuff. (Culinary cretins.)

I made the caramels, dipped them in chocolate (because anything is better with chocolate) and found them very buttery. It's not unpleasant, per se, just very rich. I found that the caramels I also sprinkled with salt seemed less greasy. Did the Old Bay help mitigate the overwhelming butteriness in yours? (Er, incidentally, how long do these things keep?) Sorry for the monster comment, just very curious, since this was my first crack at candy.

John said...

Mine are a little over 2 weeks old. The Old Bay and salt covered ones became inedible, just like eating a gooey salt lick, so I had to throw those out. My plain ones aren't caramel-like at all anymore, but they've instead taken on a pleasantly crumbly texture. Even stranger, the Old Bay actually made it taste a little more buttery to me.

Too bad there is no Old Bay in New Jersey. I'm surprised, since I've heard of it being used in New England. So I guess it's more of a below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line seasoning, preferred in Maryland and points south.