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Watertight idea? Mars files patent for multi-texture caramel

Mars claims solid plant fat holds the key to caramel water migration issues

Mars has filed a patent for ‘multi-texture’ caramel products, using a method that prevents moisture migration from caramel to crispy components without the need for a fat-based moisture barrier.

Currently caramel confectioners had to use a moisture barrier, it said, typically of triglyceride fat, that required extra processing time and equipment and even then left opportunities for failure during processing and storage.

Mars had developed a caramel comprising a solid plant fat and less than 10% water - giving the desired taste and texture properties, ensuring efficient processing and preventing moisture migration. Solid plant fats, derived from plants, could be palm kernel oil or fat; or cocoa butter, among others, providing it remained solid at ambient temperature.

In its application, Mars wrote: “While the inclusion of liquid fat can render caramel more processable, caramels prepared from liquid fats are often softer than desirable for some applications, and indeed may often be runny. It has now surprisingly been discovered that a caramel may be prepared using a solid plant fat that provides the chewy texture desired in some applications.” 

The company said the caramel formulation could be coated with chocolate and incorporate a range of crisp components including biscuits, crackers, wafers, cereal and nut meats.

Overcoming barriers 

Mars said: “Because the textural and taste attributes of the caramel are not provided at the expense of processability, the confections are readily processed without the use of enrobing technology or equipment. As a result, complex shapes are possible.

The solid plant fat had a Mettler Drop Point – an instrument used to observe the point the material begins to flow as a liquid drop – melting point of between 35°C to 50°C, or from 40°C to 45°C. 

“Any plant fat that is solid at ambient temperature may lend itself for use in the preparation of the caramel, although in order to achieve the desired processability while yet providing the finished caramel with a desirable chewy texture, the fat will desirably have a Mettler Drop Point melting point of from 35°C to 50°C, or from 40°C to 45°C.” 

It said it was possible to include monosaccharides like dextrose, fructose and galactose, as well as polyols, such as sorbitol, glycerin, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, hydrogenated isomaltose, maltitol, mannitol, xylitol and erythritol. 

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