caramels looked promising, although the deep color of the molten sugar and brown rice syrup made me wonder whether they had cooked too long. No matter, as I'd followed the directions as closely as possible, cooking the sugars to what seemed a high temperature of 155C (310F). Despite having made candy before--including caramels, although not the same recipe--I wasn't about to pretend I was some sort of expert on the subject. But I trusted that the thermometer was accurate and I could follow a few, simple steps.
Perhaps I should have erred on the side of caution, because the caramels turned out not "slightly firm," but almost brittle-like; indeed, they must have heated to too high a temperature, beyond the chewy caramel stage, encroaching on teeth-breaking territory. That, in turn, ruined any chance of a successful outcome for homemade turtles (a confection composed of chocolate, toasted pecans, and caramel); no one wants to bite into chocolate only to discover that what was supposed to be a melt-in-your-mouth caramel was instead a rock-hard block of sugar.