Sunday, February 3, 2013

Salted Caramels

Salted caramels
Show me a person who doesn't like salted caramels and I'll show a person who doesn't like fun and sugar plums and pinwheels. And nobody likes that person. Nobody.
That being said, I love the damn things. They're addictive. Creamy and a touch salty to bring out that natural and mellow sweetness that characterizes a golden, milky caramel. I'll be the first to admit that the first time I tried making these particular caramels, I had been using a cheap, crappy thermometer. The temperature was off, I boiled the hell out of them, and in the end it was a huge fail. The candy cracked like a tooth rotting Werther's Original from the bowels of hell. Still tasty, but not a chewy, melty caramel. This time would be different.
I used this recipe from Epicurious, published in Gourmet Magazine (RIP) in 2004. It was pretty easy, given that you have an actual functional thermometer on hand.
Cream, salt, butter
I started out bringing the cream, butter and salt to boil and quickly killing the heat.
Corn syrup, water, sugar
Likewise, I got the water, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil in a heavy bottom pan, and gently rolled the pan over the boiler until everything came together in a light golden caramel color.
Cream mixture added to sugar
mixture, brought to 248 degrees
Finally, little by little, I poured in the cream mixture into the sugar mixture, trying not to have anything boil over. In went the thermometer, and stirring frequently, the temperature rose slowly to 248 degrees. Everything was poured into a parchment-lined, canola brushed 9x9 pan, and then the waiting game. Two excruciating hours until caramel time was at hand. And boy was it worth the effort. These things were lovely. Just the right smooth and chewy consistency, super buttery and sweet with that little kick of saltiness at the end. I'll be making these often per the Bigger Half's request... and my thighs. My thighs have said this recipe is a winner, and who am I to deny them their thundery happiness.

Lovely caramels

1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon fleur de sel*
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

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