Want to win friends and influence people? Whip up a batch of salted caramels for them! About a month ago our friend G. dropped off a box of caramels for us. I knew he was a big gelato maker, but hadn’t realized that he had moved on to candies and I’m certainly glad that he did. After one bite J. and I were eyeing each other and counting how many caramels we each could have.
Every since sampling G.’s caramels I’ve been thinking about attempting them myself. I had signed up on Food 52 to do a homemade gift exchange and wanted to add caramels to my box.
The procedure for making caramels is not difficult, but it is imperative that you follow the directions as written. I would say that the most important tip is to really watch the temperature and do not take the pan off the heat until your thermometer reaches around 250 degrees. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan or you will get a false reading and think your caramel is done when it is not. If you take it off sooner your caramel will not firm up.
Be sure to give most of these away or you’ll find yourself eating one after another!
In case I don’t post again in the next few days Happy Holidays to all my readers and thanks for checking in at Panini Girl. Stay tuned for details on a 2014 adventure in Lucca.
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
2 cups white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tsp. course sea salt
Quantity: Approximately 60 squares
Line a 11 x 7 or 9 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper. Lightly oil or butter the paper liner.
Warm the whipping cream, evaporated milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts. In a deep saucepan (at least 5 quart), combine the corn syrup, water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat until the mixture is a rich golden brown. Swirl, don’t stir the mixture –- you want to minimize crystals forming on the sides of the saucepan.
Very carefully stir the warmed milk mixture into the darkened sugar syrup. It will bubble up violently, so be careful. Add the vanilla extract, using your candy thermometer to stir the mixture. Clip it to the side of your saucepan and allow to boil for about 10 minutes without further stirring.
Watch the temperature closely. The caramel will continue to darken as it boils. Remove it from the heat when the bubbling caramel returns to 245 – 250. Pour the hot caramel very carefully into the prepared pan. Set the pan on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle the sea salt evenly over the caramel, then refrigerate for about two hours until cooled and firm.
Remove the caramel from the pan, discard the parchment, and cut the caramel into 1-inch wide strips. Cut the strips into 1-inch square pieces.
Wrap the caramel pieces in 4” x 5” wax paper squares, twisting the ends to create individually wrapped caramels. Hint: It’s much easier to simply buy the pre-cut confectionery wax paper from Amazon.
Your caramel pieces will remain fresh several weeks if refrigerated, or about a week if not.