Before you go any further, don’t expect a recipe at the end of this story
The doorbell rang during dinner. Unexpected package, I thought to myself while answering the door thinking FedEx was delivering late.
It was a package, but it wasn’t from FedEx or any other carrier for that matter.
It was a neighbor gift.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO” I cried, falling to my knees as I glared around for the offending neighbor. They didn’t even bother to wait, just a doorbell ditch drop off. Probably thought it’d be cute.
The gift is really nothing much. Just a nice, thoughtful baggy of candies and other treats for the festive holiday season. But, it’s the baggage that comes with the baggie. Because now, I must reciprocate.
So. At 9PM at night, having never made it before, I decide I’m going to make caramel. I take a shot of rum for luck, and get to work.
Luckily, I had the requisite materials. I stirred and stirred the milk and cream until it hit “scalding”. Which, if you don’t know, is like 180 Degrees and ten hours of stirring.
Then, I poured an entire bottle of Karo syrup in with 4 cups of sugar. For health, you know, and waited until it began boiling.
By now I’m on my third drink and it’s 11PM. I’d been working for close to twelve hours.
Well. Two anyway.
Two fucking hours? I whisper to myself. I had no fucking clue caramel took so long.
Once the sugar is boiling I had to spoon in the milk mixture. I thought this was the end of it. 1/3 cup in three minute intervals was nearly the death of me. I’d frantically stir as the bubbles would rise up, threatening to overtake the lip of the pot. Alexa refused to keep time.
Where’s an ox and lamb when I need one?
Once I’d added the milk I had to wait for the “soft ball” stage. My sugar was already boiling merrily in the pot, I thought for sure we were ready.
Or maybe I was drunk. We’ll never know.
It’s 11:30. I put the candy thermometer in the pot. I’m 40 degrees away from freedom.
Except….that 40 degrees takes 40 years.
I waited. And stirred. And waited some more. And stirred some more.
FINALLY, at 12:35 AM, 3 1/2 hours after I’d started, the caramel was ready to be poured. Yet, that was not the end. I spent another two hours wrapping the damn things.
But now, I too will have a neighbor gift. Handmade caramels. Delicious and made correctly first try. At 39 I’ve officially arrived at adulthood. I can, not only do hard things, I can do them while drinking rum. The true test of a competent pirate.
Now, the only thing left to do is carry loose peppermints in my purse instead of gum.