Saturday, December 19, 2009
Fleur de sel caramels
When I was a kid I went through this candy making phase. For a while, every weekend me, my sister and my niece would spend the afternoon in the kitchen making our own candy. We made fudges, toffees, honeycombs and even once made hard peppermint candy. To this day I regret not keeping my little book that documented all our confectionery experiments.
A few months back I had a sudden penchant for some home made caramels, so did a quick google search for recipes and came up with this one from Epicurious.com. The first couple of times I made these I didn't have a candy thermometer and tried to guesstimate the "soft ball" stage (that's candy speak). My guesstimation was off which resulted in caramels that wouldn't hold their own shape and had to be eaten with a spoon. Of course this didn't phase me because they were still tasty. Then I got myself a thermometer and my 3rd attempt was successful.
Here's the recipe in case you'd like to try it. I used regular course sea salt in my recipe which worked fine for me:
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
* 1 teaspoon fleur de sel*
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup water
* Special equipment: parchment paper; a deep-fat thermometer
Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment.
Bring cream, butter, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into baking pan and cool 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.
If you try it, let me know how it turns out. If you lose any fillings, don't blame me!