These moments were indeed precious, far and few between, because my father absolutely abhorred candy. Growing up in the forties and fifties, he experienced what I can only call primordial dental procedures. When his dentist told him that candy was to blame for the sound of drilling and the smoke wafting up towards the ceiling, my father swore he would never eat candy again.
But then Middle School came about, and I was introduced to a world of vending machines and greedy PTA moms trying to sell us as much candy and junk food necessary to fund their various projects. During my exploration of all things sweet, I discovered a Skor Bar, an addictive candy with a buttery toffee center enrobed with soft milk chocolate. Lindsay, Laura and me would buy two bars each day, and split the hard toffee into as equal pieces as possible.
When I set about making chocolate cupcakes with caramel buttercream, I knew that only one candy bar would be fit to sprinkle on top. I went to the grocery store and bought, for the first time in 5 years, a handful of Skor bars. Click on the link below to read more.
So in the recipe below, I'll include the exact directions and then in parentheses, my adaptations. In the end, I did produce a wonderful caramel, but I definitely made a few executive decisions.
But what matters is the end result, and in this case, the end result was spectacular. Everyone (I served these at Lindsay's bridal shower) was smitten with these chocolate cakes, and when they took their first bite, I could see the pleasure in their eyes. The moist chocolate cake and the creamy caramel frosting needed the extra crunch that the Skor bar provided. I'm sure these would still be delightful sans candy, but if you have the opportunity to crumble up a Heath Bar or a Skor Bar, I insist that you give it a try
* you can find my favorite recipe here
Salted Caramel Buttercream
*adapted from Give Me Some Oven
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1. Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes. (I occasionally stirred my mixture with a wooden spoon because I was worried about heat distribution)
2. Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla (just start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. (Be careful, as the mixture will definitely bubble up and possibly splatter a bit. After adding the cream, I had to return my pot to heat because the cream had hardened parts of the caramel mixture. I used a wooden spoon to stir and break apart the hardness) Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.
3. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate if not using immediately (or to harden the frosting a bit).
I would recommend making a double batch of frosting if you plan on piping, but if you are just spreading a thin layer (and who would want to do that?) than this single recipe would work beautifully.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores