Salted Honey Caramels

Ever since I began making my own chocolates, truffles, and candy I have found store bought stuff to be pretty bland and...cardboardish tasting.  I have discovered that nothing compares to freshly made confectionery cooked up in your kitchen and made with real ingredients.  Whenever whipping cream is on sale, you can be sure I'll be cooking up a batch of these mouth-watering morsels!

These caramels are buttery smooth and delicious, it's hard to eat just one!  They are also super easy to make, you just need some time.  I recommend using a candy thermometer for accurate results. You can pick one up at a department or hardware store in the kitchen supply section for about $5.

I started with a basic caramel recipe from Joy of Baking.  I don't buy corn syrup and after a bit of research discovered honey can be an acceptable substitute, which is perfect for a gal who has plenty of local unpasturized honey at her disposal.  Have fun trying it out!

Salted Honey Caramels

1 1/2 cups heavy 'whipping' cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)
1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4  teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup butter, diced
Extra salt for sprinkling

Line an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the cream, sugars, honey and salt. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula.  Once it is boiling, stop stirring and clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan.  Make sure the bottom of the thermometer isn't touching the bottom of the pan.    

Every few minutes I take my rubber spatula and run it around the edge of the pan and give the works a stir.  Keep checking your thermometer once it nears the 240 degree mark, because the hotter it gets, the quicker the temperature rises...aka don't try doing something else while you are making caramels or you will end up with rock hard candies that still taste amazing but are really hard to cut.  Not that I've ever done that.  Ahem.  

Boil the mixture over medium high heat until the temperature reaches 250 degrees F.  Once you've reached that sweet spot - I stop juuuust before the 250 degree mark - take it off the stove and stir in your butter and vanilla, mixing until all the butter has melted.  Pour into your prepared pan.  If you so desire, sprinkle a little kosher or flake salt on top right now.  It looks pretty and if you like sweet/salty combinations, you'll love a bit of salt on top.  If not, they are great as is.  Then you can just call them "Honey Caramels." ;)

Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then pop it out by lifting the edges of the paper.  Cut into pieces with a large knife.  I like to wrap mine in wax paper and give as gifts in a beribboned treat bag. Another option is cutting them a bit smaller and dipping them in chocolate.  Mmm. Share and enjoy! 



A-team turned five this past Sunday!  He was, as all little boys are, very excited the last few weeks up until his birthday. We love our goofy guy, full of adventure and derring-do.  He loves to be a super hero, fire fighter or knight and save people from harm.  Often he will come up to me and proclaim in a serious, deep hero voice, "What do you want me to do?"  Then I have to tell him about my cat in the tree, or a fire in the kitchen, or enemies attacking the castle.

Dad and big bro building his firetruck for him
Lately he has become a deeper thinker and is asking questions about life and faith.  Or he will make a comment about spiritual things - and that's when we as parents realize that what we talk about is taking hold, and we rejoice in that and pray he will continue to grow in the knowledge of his Saviour.
This fall he will be going to Kindergarten!  Right now I am teaching him his letter sounds in preparation.  Right now he can read simple words with made with the letters a, s, d, t, e, r, and m.  I did that with C-note too and I think it really helped him get a head start and interested in reading as he reads all the time!
Attack of the balloons!
Fun with static!
Friends came for supper and cake!


Play Dough!

Once a year, or every other year, depending on how long our last batch lasted, we make play dough.  It's super easy to make, and a lot of fun to play with!  I can't remember which recipe we used last time, but this year we found Instructibles.  They have all steps listed and pictured so it's really easy to follow.  All cooked dough recipes out there are basically the same, this one made a bit more than the last one because it filled my dough containers and we had some left over!
 The cooked and kneaded dough, ready for colour and scent!
 Blue and a couple of drops each of peppermint, wintergreen and spearmint.  This is A-team's favourite.

Refilled containers of freshly made dough!  Yellow has lemon and lemongrass oil, green is lime, and orange has mandarin and sweet orange essential oils.

So fun!


One and a Half

Playing outside after going for a walk.  The tears are from the chilly wind!
Eighteen months already.  Where does the time go?  
Playing with homemade play dough.  It's hard to keep her off the table!
Strawberry enjoys playing with play dough, colouring, reading books, climbing and getting into anything her brothers are doing, even Lego!  Loves to read and dance to music.
Giving her upset big brother a hug 
She is very observant and continues to surprise us with her ever-expanding vocabulary.  Even things you don't think someone that little would remember or pay attention to.  Like picking up C-note's Flat Stanley and saying, "Stanee!  Stanee!"  Or hearing me tell her brother that some friends are coming over and she runs over and repeats the names and gets excited!
Newest phrases are "Catch you!"  "Where going?"  "What doing?"  "Go walk?  Boots?  Hat?"  She thinks it's funny when she sits in someone else's chair or takes a bite of someone else's food.  She gives a grin and says "Hey!"
Peanut butter monster
She likes to help and likes to be involved with everything going on around the house.  She'll hand me every piece of cutlery from the basket when emptying the dishwasher, and "help" fold laundry.  "Daddy shirt," "Cammum sock," while handing me the clothes!  Lately she's been trying to put on her pants and shirt herself and refuses my help until she gives up.  And she'll find random articles of clothing laying around and try them on.  She's had everyone else's slippers in at one time or another and clomp, clomp, clomps around with them on, grinning all the way.
Big brothers are hilarious!  C-note gets the best giggles when he's goofing around to make her laugh.
Having a chat at (on) the table.  Maybe a lecture about her always climbing onto it??



Yesterday school was cancelled because of frozen pipes.  So the boys and I did some experimenting with crayon stubs that we've been hanging on to for a long time.  I found this ice mold on clearance at Ikea last year, and the crayons were free from school.  They were going to be thrown away so we took the poor lil' guys in.  After much peeling, sorting, snapping, and melting, we poured them into the tray, along with a fish-shaped mold as well.

 They turned out ok, but some broke easily whilst trying to get them out.  The mold was pretty thick so it was a little hard to bend, but also the crayons themselves seemed brittle.  I think maybe using only one brand might make it work better.  Maybe paraffin and soy waxes don't amalgamate well.
They're kind of chalky looking for some reason.  Maybe because they're old.  And of course they're not as shiny as new crayons because they came from a rubber mold that has a bit of texture, but hey, they still work.
 The fish shaped ones are perfect for little hands.
Fun and cute!


Happy Reformation Day!

I came across this website from David Murray's blog and found the mini-documentary very informative.  If you have a few minutes and are interested in learning about the humble beginnings of the Reformation, please watch!
Out of Darkness; The Story of the English Bible is a four-part mini documentary, produced by Truth Remains, that tells the story of God's careful preservation of Scripture through the centuries. The men who gave their lives to translate the Bible into English are not household names, yet the bloody price they paid fuelled the Reformation and shaped the modern world, enabling countless Christians to enjoy the privilege of owning and studying God's Word in English.
I also enjoyed reading this article about Ulrich Zwingli by some guy on another blog.  Definitely worth a read!  I am amazed, humbled, and so thankful for these brave men who challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and stayed true to the Word.

Autumn - a wrap-up in photographs

Since we've been having such chilly weather lately, it feels like Fall is already over.  It doesn't last long around here, though!  It was beautiful while it lasted and we got some great walks in.  We've been puréeing pumpkins and shredding carrots the last couple of weeks to store in the freezer for future incorporation into baked goods.  School is going well for C-note, but we've all been fighting virus after virus since it started!  A-team is enjoying staying home with mommy yet, and gets along well with his little sister, until she cracks him on the head with something.
Life is busy, and full of snotty noses, but it's good.  We have much to be thankful for.


Making sock puppets...and putting on a show!
More reading...
Playing with leaves...

Watching a video 
Playing with cloud dough

Going for walks, and seeing the last of the insects...



Fifteen Months

Gramma's red hair  
Strawberry loves to read books and will often imitate reading a story, babbling away as she turns the pages.  She's got the walking thing down pat, and even figured out how to go down the stairs all by herself.  She knows all her body parts "Where's your ear?" and understands and complies with simple phrases like "put it back," or "close the door" but every time we ask her a question she answers "no."  Unless it's something she would like, such as going outside or having a snack, then it's answered by a huge grin and "Eeee!"
Daddy's toes
She understands (or copies) communication well and likes having a conversation with me in her own language, complete with intonation.  She also can say lots of real words too, like shoes, bubble, cheese, cracker, baf, cookie, apple, and that a cow says moo and sheep say baa.  It amazes me how bang-on she can be with pronunciation.  Once I was buckling her in her car seat and told her so.  "Buh?" she said.  "Yes, buckle."  "Cuckle?" she answered.  "Almost!  Buckle." I say, not thinking she would quite get it. "Buckle!" came the triumphant reply!
Our littlest blessing. :)
Still only has two teeth, which finally showed up at the end of her first year, but two are about to push though at the top as well.  Still wary of others who are not her family, she reserves her smiles for us only.  Still hates the nursery but will tolerate it for a little while if held constantly.  She frequently goes through phases of independent play to being clingy.  It's the age of opposites.  And separation anxiety!