It ain't nothing new, same as it ever was. Salt makes things taste better. Tomatoes, potatoes, and yes, even caramels. I meant to make this recipe for my Valentine, but time was not on my side this year, and so it was the sell by date of the heavy whipping cream that mandated I take a break from printing Tuesday evening to make some good old-fashioned candy. I tried making salted caramels when I was still in college and considered myself a decent home baker, but I quickly learned that just cause you know your way around a cake pan does not mean you know your way around a candy thermometer. I ended up way over-salting, and slightly burning, my first caramels earning them a one-way ticket to Inedibility Town (located on the continent of Wasted Afternoons, right on the Trashcan Longitude, in case you've never been there). I used a new recipe this time and am pleased as punch with both the process and end result. The smell of caramel boiling alone is enough to make me want to repeat the recipe every now and again. You can follow the recipe, courtesy of Amanda Hesser at the New York Times, here.
In Farm News: Here she is: Our broodiest hen, Mama Cass. Believe me, she looks just as crazed when she's in focus as she does out of focus. In case you don't have your own backyard flock, let me tell you of the wonder that is a broody hen. It's dedication personified. The hen sits and sits and puffs her body up to cover and warm all of the "potentials" below her. She gets up maybe once a day to grab a quick drink do a little peck, peck here and there, uses the bathroom (which is worth a whole gross post in itself because she saves it all up for one go), and returns to the baby throne.
Salted Butter Caramels cooling off in their Space Age Suit
For a Martha-esque finish, you can wrap them in small squares of wax paper.
My favorite Valentine's Day present. From my longest running Valentine.
When staring into the face of a feathery biological clock, one can't help but marvel at the powers of instinct. Unfortunately for this hen, this is my first time going through all of this and so I wasn't able to spot her broody behavior on the exact day it began. That means i'll be sneaking out with my candling light tonight so I can try to examine the eggs and determine how far along the embryos are, discard any non-potentials, and have a better idea of when these little guys might be gracing us with their presence. March, you better get here fast, cause down on the farm Spring done sprung.