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22nd of October 2018

Women



How to Make Salted Caramels

Making caramels at home can seem intimidating. I mean, you need a candy thermometer. That alone strikes fear in the hearts of many bakers. I’m here to tell you that making caramels, and in this case salted (and salted chocolate too!) caramels, is much, much easier to do at home than you might think.

Caramels are one of those candies that I can usually easily pass on. I like caramel in recipes, but straight up caramels never did it for me. UNTIL NOW. I’ve eaten back every calorie I’ve worked off this week in caramels. You’ll see why.

   

These recipes will result in creamy, buttery, soft, gorgeous caramels with just the right amount of salt. The chocolate caramels (above) taste a bit like fudge but still have that caramelly goodness. If you’re on my Christmas list, you’re getting these caramels this year. Sorry to ruin the surprise.

   

This one-pot method of caramel making is inspired by my good ol’ Better Crocker Bridal Edition Cookbook that we were gifted back in 1996. I love this method. No wiping the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush, no dirtying multiple pots. Betty knows her stuff—and I think she’d approve of these recipes. (Side note: I know Betty is not a real person, but I like to pretend she is. Hi, Betty!)

I have a little advice for you before you start. This comes from experience, as I made a few batches of caramel and they just weren’t coming out right. It finally dawned on me to check my candy thermometer. Sure enough, it was off by about 20 degrees. Who knew? Moral of the story, check your thermometer first in a pot of boiling water. If it reads 212 degrees, you’re all set.

   

Here are all of the ingredients that you need: butter, sugar, cream, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. I use vanilla bean paste if I have it for the plain caramels, just for those specks of vanilla. For the top, some nice, flaky sea salt like fleur de sel.

   

To prepare the pan, butter then line it with two strips of parchment paper, buttering the parchment as well. Leaving a little overhang lets you lift the caramels out in one big piece.

   

To start, combine all of the ingredients, minus the vanilla and fleur de sel, until melted and boiling. Once that happens, it’s time to clip on the thermometer.

The mixture will be pale yellow and bubbling pretty heavily. Stir it occasionally at this point and monitor to make sure it’s not bubbling over.

   

You’ll cook the caramel for about 30 minutes or so until the candy thermometer reads 245 degrees. The mixture will darken as it cooks, so don’t feel like you have to keep an eagle eye on the thermometer for the entire 30 minutes. Once you see it deepening in color, start really watching the temp.

   

Once it reaches 245ºF, immediately remove the pan from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste.

   

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the fleur de sel. Let the caramel set for several hours, even overnight.

   

Once set, lift the caramels out of the pan and cut into pieces. The easiest way to do this is with kitchen shears. The recipe will make 64-80 caramels depending on how large you cut them. Perfect for gift-giving.

   

Wrap the caramels in pieces of waxed paper. If you have patterned waxed paper, which is so cute, one side is more coated than the other. Place the caramel on the coated side. Note: I’ve found the patterned paper to have less slip than the plain. The caramels do stick to it just a bit.

   

To make the chocolate caramels, you’ll add melted chocolate and a bit of espresso powder along with the vanilla at the end. You could skip the vanilla and espresso powder, but both bring out that chocolate flavor and are well worth adding.

   

Store the caramels at room temperature. How cute would they be in Pioneer Woman tins? Answer: super cute!

   

Now that I know how delectable homemade caramels are, I’m thinking of revisiting my recipe for caramel brownies and trying them out with homemade caramels. Oh! Or that about melted and drizzled as the topping for Ree’s caramel apple pie? I think I better get busy on a new batch of caramels pronto!

   

Salted Caramels

August 19, 2018 0

Prep Time:10 MinutesDifficulty:EasyCook Time:30 MinutesServings:20 Servings Ingredients 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened2 cups Sugar1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream2/3 cups Light Corn Syrup1/2 cup Salted Butter1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Pase (or Extract)1/2 teaspoon Fleur De Sel Instructions Use softened unsalted butter to grease an 8x8 pan. Cut two strips of parchment paper to fit the pan, leaving an overhang on each side and buttering each piece. Set aside.

Combine sugar, heavy cream, corn syrup, salted butter, and fine sea salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Stirring frequently, cook on medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture starts to boil. Clip on a candy thermometer.

Continue cooking and stirring until the temperature reaches 245ºF. (This will take about 30 minutes.) Lower the heat as needed to prevent bubbling over. As soon as the mixture reaches 245ºF, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste (see note). Immediately pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the fleur de sel over the top.

Let the caramels set for at least two hours and up to overnight. Lift the caramel out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into pieces using kitchen shears. Wrap individual caramels in pieces of waxed paper. Store at room temperature.

Note: To make chocolate caramels, omit the vanilla bean paste. Stir together 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder. Add this mixture plus 3 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate in place of the vanilla bean paste.

Bridget

Bridget Edwards likes cookies. She’s been decorating them for over a decade and eating them for as long as she can remember. The author of two cookie books, Decorating Cookies and Decorating Cookies Party, Bridget believes: 1.) Cookies are made to be eaten, not to be perfect. 2.) Making pretty shouldn’t require an art degree or a fancy overhead projector. 3.) Your time is better spent EATING cookies with family and friends than slaving over decorating them. Bridget shares cookies and recipes for all things sweet on her blog, Bake at 350. She resides in the Lone Star State with her husband, teenage son, and two kitties.

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