Let’s just get this right out of the way, shall we?
Yes, I fully acknowledge the “irony” of my first post-sugar-free-post-dairy-free recipe being one that contains copious amounts of sugar and dairy.
What can I say? I’m back.
Okay – sea salt caramels…….
Okay, okay – here too.
But I have avoided candy-making up till now, thinking it too complicated, too easy to mess up, best left to the experts. Like these guys.
But I have long dreamed of making the perfect caramel – one to call my own – and I decided it was time to go for it.
And guess what? Caramels are one of the easiest things I’ve ever made.
After I threw out the first two batches, that is.
If you search on-line for caramel recipes you will find a wide range of instructions – from the temperature the caramel should reach (anywhere from 240 to 248 degrees), to how to cool it prior to cutting (in the fridge, on the counter, a mix of both).
After two rock-hard trays of very pretty – but completely inedible – caramels, I figured it out. Which means that you can make a perfect batch the very first time.
And I have to say, these are one of the most delicious treats I’ve ever made. For real.
adapted from Martha Stewart and The New York Times
4 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. (400 g.) sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)*
Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with a parchment sling; lightly spray the sling and pan with a non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam). In a large saucepan combine all of the ingredients except the vanilla and salt, and place on medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.
Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the thermometer reads 240 degrees. Immediately remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour caramel into your prepared pan – after 10 minutes, sprinkle with sea salt.
After about an hour, begin checking the caramel. As soon as you can easily remove it from the pan (using the sling to assist), transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1 1/4” x 3/4” pieces. I “scored” the caramel with a greased chef’s knife and then cut the individual pieces with my kitchen shears.
Wrap each piece in waxed paper, parchment paper, cellophane or plastic wrap (I used 3” squares of waxed paper).
Keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks (HA!).
*Note: you can omit the sea salt (although, really??) – if you do, add 1/8 t. table salt at the beginning of the recipe – it’s just a pinch but it definitely rounds out the flavor of the caramels.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt