Sunday, December 12, 2010

Salted Butter Caramels

So, this is the start of a candy makin' journey. I decided to make candy for gifts this year, rather than buy gifts. It's cheaper, and less agonizing.

Salted butter caramels are incredible on their own, but even better when they are made by you and given to your friends and family! And really, it's not that hard. It just takes patience, some time, and the ability to stay in the room and watch the caramel cook. This caramel gets very very hot (I have some burns to prove it) so it must be watched at all times.

 I would also like to give a shout out to my friend Kirsten, who assisted in letting me know wax paper works very well for wrappers. Cellophane wrap is IMPOSSIBLE to find in NYC.

Salted Butter Caramels
Adapted, barely, from David Lebovitz
30-40 pieces depending on desired size

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons salted butter, cubed and at room temperature

candy thermometer
wax paper

1. Line a 9 inch loaf pan with tin foil, making the inside as smooth as possible. This will provide the shape for the caramels, and you don't want creases all over them! Spray the foil with cooking spray, or lightly grease with butter.

2. Mix cream, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in a small saucepan, and heat until it begins to boil. Remove from heat and keep warm during caramel process by covering.

3. Over medium heat, combine sugar and corn syrup in a heavy bottomed saucepan, stirring gently to insure the sugar dissolves. Fit saucepan with a candy thermometer and cook until the syrup reaches 310 degrees. To get an accurate reading of the syrup, the bulb of the thermometer must be fully submerged in the syrup so tilt the pan if necessary.

4. Once the syrup reaches 310 degrees, turn off the heat and whisk in the heated cream mixture until smooth. It will bubble and froth at first, so be careful and gentle.

5. Turn the heat back on and cook mixture to 260 degrees.

6. Remove pan from heat and mix in cubed butter, until all the chunks are mixed in and smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan and let cool for 10 minutes.

7. After 10 minutes, sprinkle the remaining sea salt (1/4 teaspoon) over the top of the caramel and cool completely.

8. Once cool, lift out caramel from pan and peel away tin foil. Slice into desired sized pieces with a long, sharp knife. I found the easiest way to do this was to wet the knife with warm water between each cut. Candies can be individually wrapped with wax paper and cellophane, or stored in layers seperated by wax paper. I do recommend individually wrapping them because they tend to stick together. These will keep for 3-4 weeks.

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