Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Salted Caramels

In two short weeks I'll be home for Christmas. I'm already dreaming about the cooking, baking, and candy making that surrounds the holiday in my family. On this year's list: my mom's famous toffee, spritz cookies, peppermint bark, fudge, and peanut butter balls.

A new contender? Salted caramels. I love how easily these can be packaged as a gift or holiday treat. If wrapping them individually in wax paper is too time intensive, they can be bagged in a pretty cellophane bag tied with a large ribbon and decorative tag. If you're feeling extra generous, you can share the recipe on the card as well.

Salted Caramels
Ingredients and Equipment
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling on top.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8" square baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Candy thermometer
  • Wax paper for wrapping or paper candy cups

  • Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.
  • Bring the cream, butter and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.
  • Boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan; then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248°F, the firm-ball stage.
  • Carefully stir in the cream mixture—the mixture will bubble up. Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. The temperature should not go higher than 250°F.
    • Tip: To get the caramel consistency you want, test by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a bowl of cold water. It will form a ball, which you can test with your fingers. Stop cooking when the ball is the consistency that you want.
  • Pour the mixture into the baking pan and cool 2 hours.
  • Optional: dip the caramels in tempered melted chocolate; sprinkle the top with some grains of sea salt (pretty salts make a difference); or press in some culinary lavender buds.
  • Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, folding ends or twisting to close like taffy.
Images via The Kitchn

No comments: