Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.




Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Applauding Teachers

Chocolate and Soft Honey Cream Caramels in process of  cutting.
Well there are always times for first times, and again last week my youngest child gave me another first time experience when we participated in Teacher's Appreciation week at his two day school.  We made cards for each of his teachers and I moved my inspired-bottom-half to the kitchen.

Inspirations came from having been sent a jar of wonderful homemade soft caramels.  I just had to learn how to make them so we could enjoy them ourselves and share with others.

Filling jars of sweetness for all of Benjamin's teachers, gave me a good excuse to try homemade caramels without added too much weight to my own hips.

Make into squares and wrap in parchment paper.

They turned out wonderful...to my surprise, and I plan on tweaking them some more by using vanilla beans next time.

As I entered the school where I mentor I over head the plans for Teacher's Appreciation within the public schools.  The teachers were having massages during their lunch breaks and meals catered from near by restaurants.  What a wonderful joy to see that those who work so hard were being giving a pat on the back...literally.


So this home school mom of 22 years participated in Teacher's Appreciation week.  Now don't get me wrong we have appreciated coaches and co-op teachers with gifts, but this is first time we have been part of an organized Teacher's Appreciation.

So I send an applaud to all those who have taught in - Sunday School, Church Youth Groups, Public or Private Schools, Music, Art or Sports....and of course, for those of us who have home schooled also....you are all appreciated!

From my test kitchen.  There were plenty recipes online, however, I used this one and checked out the cookbook from the library. I will probably purchase this cookbook.  The cookbook is packed with wonderful recipes.
The Sweet Melissa Baking Book - Melissa Murphy
Honey Cream Caramels

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup of clover honey
2 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 cups heavy cream
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract (trying vanilla bean next time)
( I used 1/4 cup of roasted and crushed walnuts to cover bottom of pan)
(Sea Salt to sprinkle lightly over top)
*( ) are my additions

Lightly butter an 8 x8 x 2 in square pan - I lined my pan with parchment paper, up all sides 

1)  In a large non reactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, heavy cream and butter.  Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat.
2)  Stir in vanilla
3)  Pour the caramel into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with Sea Salt (this really adds so much, don't forget it, salt was in the ones I was sent)  Set aside, uncovered, in cook place to firm up...I left my over night
4)  When firm you can pull the parchment paper and the candy comes out of the pan and ready to be cut.  You might have to butter your knife....cut into squares

Wrap each square in wax or parchment paper.  The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 2 weeks.  (Do not leave the caramels in the open air and walk away from cutting for hours...they will just slowly melt out of shape.  So wrap and put in airtight container....I learned.)

For Chocolate....add 4 ounces of best-quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped in with vanilla at the end and stir until smooth.

I hope you enjoy!!! Maybe one day you can come to my test kitchen.  Benjamin will be there to greet you with a smile.

22 Joining in with more words:

Vee said...

What a sweet and chewy idea! I love caramels and have a favorite recipe. It's only my favorite when someone else makes them, however, because I find them tricky. Your recipe looks and sounds soooooo good.

(I taught for many years and always appreciated the little notes, the thoughtful gifts, and the darling drawings. I have kept everything that I could in a box marked "treasures." My real treasure are the students. I love running into them and learning how they're doing.)

Crickit said...

These look delicious and I am sure that the "receivers" of these gifts were quite happy! Great idea!

Debbie said...

My mother-in-law, who happens to be named Melissa, makes the best homemade caramels at Christmas time. I have always wanted to try to make some. I might put your recipe through my test kitchen this summer, especially while I have more folks at home to test them.

JillAileenJones said...

I love caramels-they are one of my favorite things to eat. They looked really yummy-I will have to try this sometime. Thanks for sharing. I bet the teachers just loved this, so very sweet of you. We had teacher appreciation at my boy's school this week too. We didn't do hand made things this year-we usually do but I didn't have time, so we bought a few things for them to take in. Maybe next time we can do these! :)
Hope you had a blessed Mother's Day.
Hugs
Jill

Maria said...

This is soooo sweet, Janette... in every way ;o)

Love caramels...
I'm home today from school... spent 3 hours getting ready for the substitute, but Chris is COMING HOME! Oh I've missed him, but so glad Jason has his wings and has gently settled in TX.
Thank you so much for all your help!
YOU are a great teacher too... every day!
What a difference it makes in the world to have parents who send shining lights into the world ♥

I just posted a photo of Jason standing in front of an awesome monument in TX. I'm going to really miss him, but I'm so proud of him too ~
Happy Mother's day and God Bless!
*Maria

Canadagirl said...

What a neat project to do with you son and a yummy one at that. Too bad there probably wasn't any to send here up north. [o; Question...do you still homeshool your kids? I think you do but I am not sure.

Blessings and ((HUGS))
-Mary

Debbie said...

I have never tried homemade caramels, and these look REALLY good, and not too difficult. Yum...what a nice treat that was for them I am sure.

Yes, I participated in more teacher appreciation days that I could possibly count up. I always got VERY involved in it as I felt like the teachers just soo deserved it. Over the years my kids were blessed with some of the most wonderful teachers in the world. A couple of them I still occasionally communicate with believe it or not.

btw, I'd LOVE to visit Benjamin's kitchen! : )

no spring chicken said...

I almost danced when I saw that you included the recipe. Yum!

I'm a little nervous about your mentioning teacher's appreciation day though. My friend just had to have emergency surgery on Mother's Day. I have her 7 year old daughter staying with me. I just dropped Charity off at school. Now, you have to understand my dilemma. Mindi is unarguably THE most generous party gal I know. She uses ANY excuse to fluff up a gift basket. If she realizes that she missed this she will be devastated! Do I have time to whip out caramels before school gets out?

Blessings, Debbie

Marsha Young said...

How I appreciate those of you who participated in Teachers Appreciation week.

Two of my children are school teachers, and it is such a demanding job.

Thank you, thank you, bless you.
Marsha

Sonja said...

Who wouldn't want to come to your kitchen!

And by the way... another HUGE shout out of appreciation to all of you home schooling moms! My hat is SO off to you!!

xo

Farm Girl said...

How yummy, Someday I would love to visit you test kitchen. It sound so good. All of the end of year things to do, oh my. :)
Have a wonderful week.

A multi-dimensional life said...

How nice that the teachers were shown such appreciation! The jar of caramels was so thoughtful... you and chef Ben created a beautiful presentation and I'm sure the teachers loved it!
My husband loves caramels, so I'll have to test this out too!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I'd love to visit your test kitchen!! =D Those look delicious!

Janette, you are wonderful for helping to express appreciation for such important influences in so many lives!! Go Teachers!

blessings ~ tanna

myletterstoemily said...

no one can appreciate a teacher like a
homeschool mom. you have my mouth
watering, too.

yea, summer!!!!!

Sandy said...

This is so very sweet. I just love
it and am sure the teachers will too.
Sounds like another recipe I will
have to try. Coming to visit you
and Benjamin...now that sounds
sweet!
Hugs,
Sandy

Lady Rose said...

Janette,

I don't think that I will be trying to make caramels in my kitchen. I make cookies, and that is enough sweets in the house to "add to my hips." I don't need the caramels, too, ha! However, the recipe sounds good.

I used to work in the public school system few years during the time I was unmarried. I've also worked in various pre-school settings. How nice of you to give them a gift of appreciation. :)

-L. Rose

Nana said...

Well, I would never have actually thought of making these myself!! Didn't you love those that came in that jar, tho! I just don't trust myself to having a jar for 2 of us at home anymore :) I will have to learn to make these for give aways for friends, tho.
And thanks so much again for the referral :) :)

Karen said...

Oh, those look delicious! Those lucky teachers are sure to feel appreciated by all that home-made goodness!
By the way, Happy Belated Mother's Day!

Karen said...

YUMMMY! I bet they beat store bought any day. I would love to be greeted by Benjamin & share some calories from you kitchen girl! Maybe one day!

Sharon said...

Where is the sign-up list for the test kitchen?? I'll be first in line to taste...

Chef Benjamin, count me in!!

And, a round of applause to you, Janette - for all you do so faithfully for your children. You deserve a pat on the back (or massage), and few extra caramels...

GOD BLESS YOU!

Debbie said...

I wish I was one of Benjamin's teachers; lol. The recipe sounds good! How kind of you to bless his teachers with love.

I've missed you sweet friend and hope to get an email off to you this weekend. I'm sick once again. You know how that is working with little children.

Love you,
Debbie

Theresa said...

Those look delish! I need to get a candy thermometer :)

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