I've forgotten how to write these. How does it work again?
I think there were animated gifs? Here, have some animated gifs.
I believe that some amusing things have happened in the past month, but I am damned if I remember what any of them were. My memories of late November and early December are mainly a blur of not getting work done, and of realizing I needed to buy more sugar, butter, or cream.
I have purchased a lot of butter, sugar, and cream in the past couple of weeks. It is the usual thing here to madly produce vast quanities of little sweet things to give to our friends at this time of year. I tried following a new recipe for salted butter caramels this year and tried using a new thermometer at the same time. This was not a success. It took several inedibly hard-and-sticky batches, each made in a separate precious naptime, to confirm that both variables were to blame. I was displeased.
If the same thing should ever happen to you, incidentally, know that you can have a good time taking out your frustration on the failed results by whacking them into chunks with the claw end of a claw hammer, then melting these with some whole milk to make perfectly pleasant caramel sauce/spread.
Also, I feel better now that I have redeemed myself at the eleventh hour by finding and successfully following a new recipe that I like better than any I have made in the past. It is a scaled-down version of one of the earlier formulas (the one described as "perfect consistency, tastewise 96% there") from this interesting eGullet thread about reproducing the caramels from Jacques Genin. The texture is indeed excellent. Next year I might try the much-lauded recipe from later in the thread that involves some more exotic ingredients like lethicin, but then again I might not. The 96% perfect version is pretty darn fine by me and I don't have to buy anything weird to make it.
(The noble table, pressed into service once more!)
And now all the caramels and caramel sauce and almond toffee and spiced nuts and other presents have been packaged up and parceled out and are no longer cluttering up every spare surface, and I am very relieved. Now all we have to do is fly across the country with a very lively toddler. What could possibly go wrong?
Oh! PS. I added half a teaspoon of salt to my batch of successful caramels, which were scaled down to 3/8 of the recipe as written.