Sweet and salty
You didn’t think I’d do a month of Halloween treats and forget the caramel did you? And, this isn’t just any caramel, this is Ina Garten’s fleur de sel caramel. These little treats are very rich, just slightly chewy and have enough salt that they border on savory (think kettle corn).
While the sugar and water get to boiling, prepare the pan. Cut the parchment so that it sits neatly along two sides and overhangs on the other two (enough to use the extra parchment to lift the finished caramel out of the pan).
This is a two-pan caramel recipe. Sugar and water come together in one while heavy cream and butter are warmed in another.
Once the sugar and water reach a pale sunny blond…
In goes the dairy (be prepared for a little angry caramel for a few minutes).
Bring the whole mess up to 248 degrees.
And then into the prepared pan and into the fridge until completely cooled.
Now it’s time to really get to work. This is a soft caramel and as such, imprints easily. Like fingerprint easy. To avoid mucking up the beautiful shiny caramel with my grubby fingers, I put on plastic gloves for this next part.
Tightly roll the caramel to halfway.
Cut into eight pieces.
Srinkle with fleur de sel.
Then repeat with the other half. I wrapped each little piece in parchment (I cut a couple of 10X14 inch pieces into eight equal-sized parchment rectangles giving me 16 pieces total). You could also use waxed paper or cellophane. A few years ago I used this really cute waxed paper from The Container Store.
Over the years I’ve made these on-and-off for the holidays. Something tells me they’ll making a comeback this year.
If you like this, you might like these
MJ in the house.
Fleur de Sel Caramels
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan (or loaf pan) with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.
- In a deep saucepan (6 inches diameter by 4 1/2 inches deep) combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don’t stir – just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!
- In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
- When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel – it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
- When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Starting at 1 end, roll the caramel up tightly until you’ve rolled up half of the sheet. Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly. You will have 2 (1 by 8-inch) logs. Sprinkle both logs lightly with fleur de sel, cut each log in 8 pieces. Cut parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.