Salted Exotic Bourbon Blood Orange Burnt Sugar Caramel Candies – My Online Bake Sale Auction

by Irvin on March 29, 2011 · 35 comments

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It’s been nearly three weeks since the Japanese earthquake and tsunami happened. I’ve written about it a couple of times since then, as well as how the food blogging community has rallied together to help raise money for the victims. Tomorrow, March 30th, 2011, my friend Sabrina over at The Tomato Tart will be hosting a fundraising online bake sale. With over 90 people donating, we’re all hoping to raise a lot of money for Second Harvest Japan, that nation’s first food bank. My donation to it: Salted Exotic Bourbon Blood Orange Burnt Sugar Caramel Candies.

Blood Orange Caramels

I’ve been tinkering with the recipe for the past couple of weeks, ever since Sabrina started asking people to donate baked goods. Technically these are cooked not baked, but I figured homemade candies might travel better. That is, if I can keep AJ from eating them all. He’s kind of a little bit in love with them.

Blood Orange Caramels

The original recipe I started with was a chewy soft caramel where I partially replaced some of the crème fraiche called for in the recipe with fresh squeezed blood orange juice. I used some candied lemon and orange peel in them, hoping it would make the citrus pop a little more. I had suspected that the combination of burnt sugar, crème fraiche and orange juice might muddy the flavors and I was right.

Salted Blood Orange Spiced Caramels

A work in progress: Salted Blood Orange Spiced Caramels

I mean the candies were good. Don’t get me wrong. But they weren’t spectacular. So I went back to the drawing board. I left out the candied peels. I left out some of the spices. I decided to separate out the layers of candy. One layer of caramel. One layer of blood orange candy. Leave the crème fraiche caramel recipe alone and let it stand on it’s own (it’s an amazing recipe all by itself). Concentrate the blood orange flavor in it’s own shiny sticky candy layer made the tart-sweet blood orange citrus tang sing. Add a hefty dose of Tahitian vanilla bean, grains of paradise, pink Himalayan salt and just a touch of bourbon to warm it up subtly and you got a winner. These suckers are amazing. Blood orange, burnt sugar caramel with creme fraiche, and exotic spices all equal one sophisticated sweet treat that you won’t find anywhere else.

Blood Orange Caramels

So I present to you these candies. I might or might not give you the recipe. I’m not sure yet. But the only way you get them, for now at least, is to bid on them tomorrow. You’ll get 12 precious little candies for you to savor, in a cute little mason jar. Plus the knowledge that 100% of your money is going to those who desperately need it.

Sabrina has a sneak peak preview of some of the goods up for auction. Check out the amazing items that food bloggers from around the world are donating, from scrabble cookies, to home made jams and preserves to cookies and brownies and cakes. It’s pretty astounding this here food blogging community. I love my peeps. I really do. But remember: tomorrow. Bid for these caramels. You may never get another chance at them…

Blood Orange Caramels

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Teresa March 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

This is a great way to make some money for the relief efforts. There’s going to be a bake sale in Vancouver in April, as well: http://gourmeted.com/2011/03/29/bake-for-the-quake/

You may or may not give us the recipe: Does this mean you’re contemplating a cookbook? If so, it’ll be amazing.

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Irvin March 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

It’s amazing how many awesome bake sales and fundraising events that are happening around the world. There’s a bunch of bake sales happening here in the US this weekend on April 2nd as well! You can find more information at http://bakesaleforjapan.com/ about it.

As for a cookbook, thank you for the encouraging words. I’m holding on to the recipe right now because I want the person who buys them to get something special. I may release the recipe later on. These are too good not to share with the world. But for now, that person who wins gets something really special…

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Jenny March 29, 2011 at 11:22 am

Holy hell, Irvin. These are a thing of beauty. It’s 4/2 as a virtual bake sale, right? So I can, like, charge in and try to buy some, right-o? Hope so – I can barely contain myself these look so beautiful.

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Irvin March 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Hi Jenny! Actually the virtual bake sale is March 30, tomorrow. I apologize for the confusion. I have gone ahead and edited my post above to clarify.

There is a actual real like bake sale that is happening on April 2nd, which I will be donating to as well. But the virtual online bake sale that The Tomato Tart is hosting, happens tomorrow, March 30th.

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Beth (OMG! Yummy) March 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I told you in your first post that those babies are mine. What time does the bidding start??? Had a blast going through all the donations yesterday. Almost threw my rugelach in the ring but decided to contribute by buying instead because at the moment, I have more money than time (not saying much) and I WANT THOSE CARAMELS.

So great to see all the donations and can’t wait to see how the bidding goes.

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:38 pm

You. Are. Amazing. That is all I can say.

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Shila March 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Damn, they look good! Creme fraiche + blood oranges + salted caramel=sold!

I like the layering idea and am very impressed by the blood orange candy. Grush and I tried making candy from a giant box of plums we scored at the farmer’s market and ended up with a sticky (but delicious) mess! We’ll need to play around a bit more I think.

Any resources you suggest on making good candies?

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Well my friend Anita over at Desserts First wrote a book called The Field Guide to Candy. You might want to check it out?

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Lil @ sweetsbysillianah March 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

aw man… looks like i have some competition already! darn it… please share the recipe for those of us that don’t win them afterwards… i want some!

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:42 pm

LOL. I’ll be sharing the recipe eventually. It’s too good not to. But I’m holding off for now. But don’t worry. You’ll get it…

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Joy, The Herbed Kitchen March 30, 2011 at 6:11 am

Irvin, these are gorgeous. I have grand fantasies of making at least half decent candy and you have made a thing of beauty. I hope we surpass all of our expectations for this bake sale and I do think we will.

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm

I think we TOTALLY ended up surpassing all expectations for the bake sale, as Sabrina was able to bring in over $8000. Which is AWESOME.

And trust me, these took a couple of trial and errors until I figured it all out!

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Stef March 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Wow! Wow! Wow! These looks incredible. Very generous of you to offer them for the bake sale. But, I’m excited too that you shared the recipe. I may have to give these a go.

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Yes. I will definitely be sharing the recipe. Don’t worry. I just want the winner to get to savor them as something really special.

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Phuoc'n Delicious March 30, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Ooooo YUMMY! How generous of you to offer to the bake sale! I hope you get to share the recipe one day.. These absoltely look divine!

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

Definitely will share the recipe. Don’t worry! And thank you!

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Jazmin March 31, 2011 at 8:16 am

I would have bid on these if they shipped to Canada…they look/sound tantalizing

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:45 pm

So sorry I wasn’t shipping them to Canada. I was afraid international shipping for food items might be difficult. But perhaps next time, if we do this sort of thing again, I’ll figure it all out.

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Lisa T March 31, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Wow Irvin. I went to bid on your delicious looking caramels early this morning and found that they had already sold for the $250 “buy-it-now” price. I also saw that you offered to make a second batch if you receive another $250 donation. Sadly, that is a little beyond my budget, but I congratulate you on helping to raise so much money for the relief effort in Japan.

I hope that eventually you will share the recipe. I suspect the person or people (if another batch sells) who receive your caramels will still feel that they are getting something very special because the ones they get will be made by you and they won’t have to lift a finger except to pop a caramel into their mouths.

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Thanks Lisa! Yes, I plan on sharing the recipe. Don’t worry. And yes, I was in total shock that they had already been bought for the Buy-It-Now price! Amazing.

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Cookin' Canuck March 31, 2011 at 1:30 pm

What an awesome combination of flavors! I’ll bet these babies were one of the first to go in the bake sale.

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I think they might have been! I was in total shock when I found out they had been bought just a couple hours after the bidding started.

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A.J. April 1, 2011 at 12:59 am

I can’t stop eating them!

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:48 pm

Well you can now. They are all gone!

But I can always make more. ;)

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Kristy April 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I’ll be expecting some of these in my e-mail tomorrow!! How I wish that would work out!

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Wouldn’t that be awesome if I could? I’d love to email these out to everyone who bid and donated to the online bake sale. Alas technology isn’t there yet….

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Nancy Baggett April 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Not give us the recipe!!? That is so-o-o not fair. I was nodding along, agreeing with your description of how you experimented and that the orange peel in the caramel was too much. And saying, yes, yes, two layers with the orange and caramel playing off one another would be wonderful. And eyeing the pics and thinking, oh lovely, and, yes, I really must play with these. And then I find there is NO recipe. You really MUST remedy that, you know…..

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Irvin April 5, 2011 at 11:50 pm

LOL. Don’t worry Nancy. I’ll totally remedy it. I’m a food blogger! How can I NOT share the recipe? But first I want the winning bidder to enjoy them all to herself (and whomever she decides to share them with). Then I’ll release the recipe for all to make…

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Marie April 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hi Irvin,
I have been trying over and over to make these babies at home – Im not asking for a recipe on the entire thing – just help with the blood orange candy, since I have no idea where to look for a good recipe for orange candy at all. Love your blog and your recipes!
Love, Marie – Copenhagen

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Irvin April 8, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Hi Marie! I’m traveling right now, and left my recipe back home, but email me the problems you are having with your blood orange candy part and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I’m back home and have my notes.

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Robin May 2, 2011 at 1:15 am

these look amazing and I think it’s rad the recipe is top secret for the time being! That would make me feel very V.I.P.! Gratz on the fundraising! aloha

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April July 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Hi Irvin,
Ever since you posted about these caramel candies, I have been dying to make them because they look so delicious. Just checking back to see if you plan to post the recipe…

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Anna December 31, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Looks amazing!

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Heather Duffy February 13, 2012 at 10:01 am

Hey Irvin!
I came across your bake sale candy while trying to find a confection for my bourbon-enthusiast boyfriend’s birthday next week. It looks so divine and pairs with [my longtime and] his new love, blood orange, so I think it would be a fantastic surprise. Aside from the obvious obstacle of not having your recipe, it is impossible to find creme fraiche here in Grand Rapids. I think I could follow your lead and use my grandmother’s caramel recipe, but I am totally at a loss with the blood orange, bourbon, salt, and vanilla bit. It seems pretty sophisticated for a first time candy maker… Please advise?
Perhaps it would be better for me to arrange the flavors into a macaroon or cake?
Best,
Heather

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Tony March 15, 2012 at 6:26 am

Looks amazing! Any chance this recipe is going to be available??

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