Salted Caramels

10 Mar

Salted Caramels.  These were a major achievement.  Before this, caramel was both my greatest love and my nemesis.  First, there was the caramel popcorn.  3 attempts at that- 3 failures- ended up with some vegan crap, burnt caramel and some lovely burn scars to boot.  I bought a candy thermometer- piece of shit, mind you.  If you can’t tell the right fucking temperature then what good are you?  The first batch, I wrongly assumed my thermometer would be correct, so I burned to shit. (btw I first tried david leibovitz’s recipe, oy vey.)  Next, I turned to dear ol’ Ina.  This recipe is published in 2 different ways on the food network website- but thanks to the 109 comments, i figured out which was right.  I might have fucked these up in one way– it calls for 1.5 cups of sugar… I definitely added the half and honestly couldn’t remember if I added the one.  I was pretty sure that I didn’t- so I was preparing myself for disaster.  But in the end, whatever I did worked out fine.  Lastly, the thing to know is that making caramels is a pain in the ass.  Also, since candy thermometers are a joke, a few tricks around it.  But they are insanely delicious– like really– insanely delicious.

As David Leboveitz writes, when you are making caramels, one should be like a surgeon and carefully lay out all the tools– or as Jenna would say– make sure everything is mis en place.

Vegetable oil/pam spray
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling [if you can’t find, use sea salt- sea salt is pretty strong so many can use just a touch less]
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

First, line your baking sheet with foil or parchment.  I went foil. Spray with Pam or brush with a little vegetable oil.  Next, put your cream, butter and 1 tsp salt in a small saucepan.  Heat up cream on medium.  Once it starts to simmer, take off heat, and cover to keep warm.  Put the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan.  Heat sugar mix on med-high until boiling.  Don’t stir, swizzle pan if you have to.  Watch very very closely.  Wait until it turns a “warm golden brown color.”  This is the most important- yet easiest to fuck up part.  Too early, you got nothing.  But then, really quickly it will turn from nice golden into burnt.  So watch closely for warm golden- you’ll know what that means when you see it.  Take off heat.

Slowly pour the cream mixture into the caramel, will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla.  Put back to a medium-low heat.

Now, they say the goal is 248 and that should take 10 minutes.  Mine did not reach that temp- and cooked past that time.  So here is the trick- you want it to get to the “firm ball stage.” After 10 minutes you can start testing.  So get a little bowl of water, and you drop some caramel into it.  When you go to fish out the caramel, it should retain its shapes- but still be pliable.  A lot of people on food network comments said their’s was too hard, so I further think- you don’t need to wait until 248 (cuz you can’t trust the thermometers anyway).  But do it until firm ball… I think this took mine like 15/20 minutes?  Just keep testing it.  Once it is done, pour into prepped pan and refrigerate to cool for a couple hours.  Then, you start on one end and you roll up half, cut down the middle, then roll up there other half.  So you have two 8 inch logs.  Sprinkle w. more salt.  Cut into pieces.  Wrap individually in parchment or wax paper- this keeps them from sticking together too.  Can keep in fridge or room temperature- fridge helps them keep there shape a little more- but it really depends on how soft yours turn out.  Mine were just the right amount of soft and chewy… I sure hope I can replicate them…


2 Responses to “Salted Caramels”

  1. Anonymous March 17, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Starbucks has THESE now, too? Who’s copying who here, anyway?


  1. Mint Brownies with Homemade Peppermint Patties « Snacko Backo - March 21, 2011

    […] center, cutting out circles w. cookie cutters, and using a candy thermometer- which, if you read my salted caramel post- know my dislike for.  And then they dip the rounds in chocolate- but dipping was enough of a […]

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