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The Pintester Takes on Salted Microwave Caramels

I tend to shy away from all things baking. Candy-making, to me, is the most complicated form of baking there is. I can’t even handle properly measuring a cup of flour. How the hell am I going to appropriately take the temperature of candy at the medium-ball stage?

So I was thrilled to see this version of caramel using a microwave.

Image from CbsoP.com

And I even happened to have all of the ingredients on hand, which happens so rarely that I felt like this had to be fate.

Sure, my corn syrup was a little past its expiration date, and my brown sugar was a little bit hard and brick-like, but that never killed anyone. I was feeling pretty optimistic until I opened my can of sweetened condensed milk.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s what an opened can of sweetened condensed milk is supposed to look like.

Here’s what mine looked like.

Now, were I not an experienced pin tester, I would have screamed some obscenities and chucked it in the trash, and given up on the whole thing. But, you see, I have actually done this to sweetened condensed milk on purpose before.

Granted, I don’t know how this one got this way. I briefly considered the fact that I might have boiled it without remembering, but the label was still intact on the can, so that wasn’t it. The only thing I can think of is that it was in the cabinet next to the refrigerator, which sometimes puts out warmth that makes the cabinet warmer than room temperature.

In any case, I had already measured and mixed all of the other ingredients, and I wasn’t about to quit, so I chucked that disgusting shit in the bowl and got to microwaving.

The original poster of this recipe claimed that the only problem with how his turned out was that it was too soupy and that next time he would zap it for an extra two minutes. Because I am super smart, I decided to zap mine for an extra two minutes to completely avoid that problem.

Then I salted it and stuck it in the refrigerator for an undetermined amount of time.

I returned to it later to find a brick-like layer of the hardest caramel known to man, impervious to all utensils.

So I did what anyone who microwaved a thing too long would logically do: I stuck it back in the microwave for 40 seconds.

Despite all logic, that helped soften it up some, and over the course of two days, numerous tries, developing carpal tunnel syndrome, and breaking several nails, I managed to get most of it out of the pan. (One clump remains submerged under warm water in the kitchen sink.)

And it actually doesn’t taste that bad, if you don’t mind feeling like you’re going to rip out all of your dental work. Plus, no one died from eating super-gross-looking sweetened condensed milk or old corn syrup, and we count that as a win around here.

To see more of Pintester’s tests (most of which are also CraftFails), check out her blog at Pintester.com.

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