The History of Caramels

Caramels are a special kind of confection. There is nothing better than snuggling in front of a good movie and letting a gooey caramel candy melt in your mouth. There are many different types of caramel, from sauces to wrapped treats.history 4 While the exact history of caramel is unknown, it is recorded that around or about 1650, American settlers were making hard candies in kettles. Between this time and the early 1880’s, some ingenious candy maker added fat and milk while boiling sugar and water, creating what is now known as caramel. During this time, caramels were also made with sugar beet juice because refined sugar was expensive and hard to come by. Caramels are chewy because of the heat activation between the sugar ingredients and the milk solids. This creates the caramelized flavor. Caramels are made when sugar syrup is cooked and then milk and fat is added. The mixture is heated and stirred constantly in a kettle until it becomes milky or light brown. Caramels heated further actually turn into toffees. Caramel Gets Popular During the mid 1800’s, most American candy manufacturers made hard candies, but some also made caramels. Milton Hershey’s candy making empire did not begin with chocolate. Instead, it began with caramels. His first company was Lancaster Caramel Company. Interestingly, Hershey discovered the joys of chocolate while seeking candy coatings for Lancaster Caramels. Hershey sold Lancaster Caramels in 1900 to The American Caramel Company for an unheard of 1 million dollars.history 1 In 1895, founder August Goetze began making several confectionary candies in Baltimore, Maryland. He founded Goetze’s Candy Company, another important face in the history of caramels. By 1940, Goetze’s Candy Company decided to produce only one candy. This was the undeniable delicious Caramel Cream, a caramel candy with a chewy center. Brach’s Candy is another important candy maker in the history of caramels. This company was founded in 1904 by Emil Brach. The first store in Chicago was small, and the caramels were made in the back of the store. Eventually, Brach’s began to gain notoriety for fresh and inexpensive caramels. The company then met its first retail customer, Siegel, Cooper & Co department stores. The Making Of Caramels Different types of caramels are made with the basic ingredients: milk, condensed milk, corn syrup, sugar, oil, butter, and molasses. The milk and condensed milk is what prevents caramel from turning into a hard candy. Corn syrup and molasses are used for adding to the sweetness of the different types of caramels.history 2 A fat is necessary for caramel to retain its elastic nature. In the making of caramels, gourmet candy makers use butter as it provides the best quality and taste. Most candy makers use very little butter and mix this with other fats, which is why homemade caramel and gourmet caramel tastes different from store bought caramel. Cheryl's Caramels are a perfect example. Butter caramels are probably the best of the different types of caramels. This includes caramel sauce, praline, maple caramel custard, Crème Brule, and caramelized almonds. There are hundreds, if not thousands of flavors, textures, and chewy variations in the different types of caramels. A few minutes or degrees undercooked will result in a slightly chewier caramel while overcooking will yield a harder caramel.  There are also the differences in additives. One can add nearly any flavor to caramels. Chocolate, vanilla, maple, butter, creams, and so on that will create all the different types of caramels, enough to salivate any sugar lover’s taste buds. So far I've perfected 9 amazing flavors and can't wait to develop additional flavors.  The history of caramels may be slightly vague, but surely some genius candy maker discovered the caramelized method almost four hundred years ago. The history of caramels has come a long way since the early American settlershistory 3. The making of caramels has helped launch some of the most well known and prolific candy makers in American history. While Cheryl's Caramels may or may not make history, I do know that folks are always pleasantly surprised when they sample and keep coming back for more...            

One comment

  1. Cierra says:

    Cierra

    The History of Caramels | Cheryl's Caramels

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