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As we’ve discussed before, salt and caramel are one of the best combinations ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. EVER. And these caramels may just be the best ever. You should go make them now. Seriously.
I know what you’re saying, “I don’t want to use corn syrup, blah blah blah.” Well, David has some alternatives to corn syrup in his post so go read it, make the caramels, then tell David and myself how much you love us. Ignore what your thighs say, they’re not allowed to have an opinion about this.
Photos of the process here.
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, bean paste, or powder
rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, golden syrup (such as Lyle’s) or rice syrup*
1 cup (200 g) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 g), total, salted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- Line a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan with foil and spray the inside with cooking spray. (I used non-stick foil–that stuff is incredible!)
- Heat cream, two tablespoons butter, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in a small saucepan until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the syrup.
- In a medium, heavy duty saucepan (4 quarts, 4l), fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn syrup with the sugar and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots.
- Cook until the syrup reaches 310ºF (155ºC). To get an accurate reading while the syrup is cooking, tilt the saucepan to make sure the bulb of the thermometer is fully submerged in the syrup. (I had never done this before, and that could easily explain why I’ve burned sugar in the past. Good tip from David!)
- Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture until smooth.
- Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 260F (127C).
- Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and stir in the cubes of butter until they’re melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and wait ten minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt over the top. Set on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the foil with the caramel, peel away the foil, and slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.
Storage: These caramels can be individually-wrapped in cellophane or waxed paper. Once cut, they may stick together if not wrapped. Store in an air-tight container, and they’ll keep for about one month.
Recipe from David Lebovitz.