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I was slightly terrified when I first started this recipe, for two reasons: 1. Hot sugar and I have gotten into fights many times in the past, and I usually end up burned (literally); and 2. The reviews were all over the place. Yet I still made them; I guess I was feeling brave.
And fortunately for me, the caramels were a success. I heeded the advice of some of the reviewers and boiled the mixture to soft ball stage rather than 255 °F like the recipe states, as people were ending up with a glass-like texture by heating that high. (Mine were a little soft after they cooled, but seemed to firm up a bit overnight.) The caramels are chewy but not sticky, and have a nice bite as they don’t stick to your teeth. Flavorwise, the chocolate is not overpowering, and the salt makes these a perfect salty/sweet treat!
(Yes, a thermometer is required to make these. There’s no need for an expensive one, I’ve been using this model for years.)
Photos of the process here.
2 cups heavy cream
10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao if marked), finely chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt such as Maldon (I used coarse sea salt because that’s all I had)
Vegetable oil for greasing
- Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment.
- Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.
- Bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling pan occasionally, until sugar is deep golden, about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and carefully pour in chocolate mixture (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously). Continue to boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers soft ball stage (235-240°F) on thermometer, about 15 minutes. Add butter, stirring until completely melted, then immediately pour into lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to bottom or side of saucepan). Let caramel stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours.
- Carefully invert caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board, then peel off parchment. Turn caramel salt side up. Lightly oil blade of a large heavy knife and cut into 1-inch squares.
- If desired, additional sea salt can be pressed onto caramels after cutting.
- Caramels keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature 2 weeks.
- Caramels can be wrapped in 4-inch squares of wax paper; twist ends to close.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious.