Monday, July 11, 2011

sunday sweets {sea salt caramels}

Caramel can be tricky. I learned this in my high school "International Foods" class where my team and I decided to cook flan. We had never cooked caramel before and were unaware that left unattended it could crystalize. You can imagine our shock {and poor grade}, but it did become a running joke for the rest of the class, so I guess it worked out.

On several occasions Jacob and I have made caramel for tarts, brownies, and sauces, and there's a very fine line between perfectly cooked and burnt, trust me. Either way it's tasty, but the consistency depends on the amount of time cooked, so one must keep a watchful eye at all times.

Caramel also happens to be Jacob's favorite treat. It is to him what chocolate is to me, he simply can't get enough of it. So, despite it's tediousness, I decided to press forth and make some candies {also, they could be easily wrapped and handed out to people I like in an effort to get them out of the house}. I've always been a huge fan of salty and sweet in my desserts {and snacks, chocolate covered pretzels are my favorite}, and we had picked up a bunch of fancy sea salts at a spice shop in Charleston, so this seemed like the perfect time to use some of them.

1 1/3 heavy cream
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup honey
6 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tsp. sea salt, such as fleur de sel {I used a black lava sea salt}
{ you can also choose to dip these in a tempered chocolate, and for that you will need 1 lb bittersweet chocolate, chopped. I decided they were decadent enough}

1. Prepare an 8-inch pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Place the cream in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup and honey and stir until it begins to boil. Periodically wipe down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming {see opening paragraph}.
3. Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 257 degrees on a candy thermometer.
4. Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the butter, vanilla, and 2 tsp of salt {you really have to work quickly here, because this is the part where it can get burnt}.
5. Pour into prepared pan and let set at room temperature until firm enough to cut out.
6. Cut the caramel into small squares or strips with a chef's knife.
7. While caramel is still warm, sprinkle with salt. {If you choose to dip this in tempered chocolate, set them on a sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle with salt}


1 comment:

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