Salted Caramels

salted caramels - trust in kim

My mom likes to buy salted caramels, so I thought this year at Christmas I would surprise her and make her some of these fleur-de-sel caramels. These are so addictive! And they look pretty wrapped up in parchment paper, like little Christmas crackers.

This recipe isn’t difficult, but it does take a bit of patience to allow it to cook slowly. If you have some good music playing the time will fly by.

A candy thermometer is helpful but not essential in making these. I’ve had problems in the past with a candy thermometer that is not accurate, so I recommend testing the accuracy of your thermometer by placing it in boiling water – it should read 212F.

What you need:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream (I used Avalon organic cream)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • fleur se sel
  • parchment paper
  • optional: 3 oz chocolate (I used 2 oz semi-sweet and 1 oz bitter-sweet)

What you do:

  1. Line a 9×9-inch pan with lightly buttered parchment paper.
  2. Combine the sugar, syrup,salt and one cup of the cream in a large pot. Place on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until it boils. This may take a while, but make sure you don’t raise the heat to hurry it up – it needs to stay on medium
  3. As the sugar mixture continues to boil, slowly drizzle in the cream, continuing to stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring little.
  4. Add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time so the mixture keeps boiling, and stir until melted.
  5. For the next steps you need to have patience, as you will need to stir from time to time for about 30-40 minutes.  Continue boiling over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  You will begin to see the mixture turn a more caramel-brown colour.  If you’ve got a candy thermometer, you want it to read 250F.  If you don’t have one, you can get a bowl of ice water and place a drop of the mixture into it.  When it forms a “firm ball” in the ice water, take it off the heat right away. After about 40 minutes I finally turned the heat up a little higher because it still hadn’t reached the right temperature and I was running out of time, but they turned out perfectly.
  6.  After removing from the heat, immediately stir in the vanilla.
  7. Pour immediately into the parchment-lined pan.  Just pour it in and don’t scrape the caramel from the bottom of the pot, to avoid crystallization.  Of course you can scrape the remaining bit out into another container and eat it – it tastes great too!
  8. Allow the caramel to cool completely, then remove it from the pan by pulling up the parchment paper.
  9. With a lightly buttered knife, cut into desired shapes.  (At this point if you are going to dip the caramels in chocolate you will do that.) Press the caramels into the fleur de sel so they have a little bit on one side.
  10. Parchment paper is great for wrapping the individual caramels. Just cut it into rectangles and twist the ends up. I like to use a piece of parchment to pick up the caramels when I am working with them to avoid getting fingerprints on them.
  11. Enjoy! And share!

While making these I listened to and sang along to Whitehorse’s album, The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss.

Fleur de Sel Caramels

These are to die for – sweetness balanced perfectly with saltiness.  I made some plain, just caramels and fleur de sel, wrapped in parchment paper.  The others were dark chocolate-covered, with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.  It’s hard to choose a favourite . . . but I’d have to say the chocolate ones win out.  Try it and see – it takes a bit of patience, as the cooking process can’t be rushed, but if you’ve got the time and some good music to listen to while you’re stirring, it’s totally worth it.

Listening pairing: Luluc’s album ‘Dear Hamlyn.’  Sweet and smooth like the treats you’re making!

What you need:

1 cup sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 & 1/2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

fleur se sel

3 oz chocolate (I used 2 oz semi-sweet and 1 oz bitter-sweet)

parchment paper

candy thermometer – helpful but not essential (you can test the accuracy of your thermometer by placing it in boiling water – it should read 212F)

What you do:

1.  Line a bread pan with lightly buttered parchment paper.

2.  Combine the sugar, syrup, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and half a cup of the cream in a pot.  Place on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until it boils.  This may take a while, but make sure you don’t raise the heat to hurry it up – it needs to stay on medium.

3.  While it boils, add the cream slowly, continuing to stir.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring little.  Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir until melted.

4.  For the next steps you need to have patience, as you will be stirring for about 30-40 minutes.  Continue boiling over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  You will begin to see the mixture turn a more caramel-brown colour.  If you’ve got a candy thermometer, you want it to read 250F.  If you don’t have one, you can get a bowl of ice water and place a drop of the mixture into it.  When it forms a “firm ball” in the ice water, take it off the heat right away.

5.  After removing from the heat, stir in the vanilla.

6.  Pour immediately into the parchment-lined pan.  Just pour it in and don’t scrape the caramel from the bottom of the pot, to avoid crystallization.  Of course you can scrape it out into another container and eat it up!

7.  Allow the caramel to cool, then remove it from the pan by pulling up the parchment paper.

8.  With a lightly buttered knife, cut into desired shapes.  Sprinkle the fleur de sel on the ones that you won’t be dipping in chocolate.

9. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or place a bowl on top of a pot of water.  Melt the chocolate, or read here for the more complicated process of tempering chocolate.

10.  Dip caramels in the melted chocolate, then sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.

11.  The caramel will stick to almost everything.  Parchment paper, however, is like magic when it comes to caramel. you can line your plate with it, or use it for wrapping the individual caramels.

I found this recipe on Not So Humble Pie.  I’ve just halved the recipe, as it was too much for me.  But it takes a long time to make, so you might want to double it – it’s not double the work until you get to the cutting and dipping.