Sunday, October 7, 2012

Homemade Salty Caramels

I was feeling adventurous on Friday, so I decided to make homemade caramels.  I've never made candy before, and I've always heard that it's pretty complicated.  This was completely the opposite.  All you do is put the ingredients on the stove and let them cook.  The recipe is pretty simple actually.  I used Mark Bittman's recipe (printed here).  It's just:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Put all of the ingredients, except vanilla extract, in a big sauce pan.  Turn stove on medium-low.  Stir occasionally until the sugar melts.

Now just leave it alone.  The mixture will bubble and darken.  This takes a while, like about 45 minutes, maybe longer.  Check it occassionaly and give it a stir every now and then. You want it to be pretty dark, a nice rich brown, (or 245 degrees if you are using a candy thermometer) like this:

Turn off the eye and stir in the vanilla.  Then quickly pour into a small pan lined with parchment paper.

Now, sprinkle with sea salt.  This isn't in Mark Bittman's recipe, but I think all caramel could use a healthy dose of salt.  This makes the candies even more irresistible 

Let cool for a few minutes before you try to cut them.  I put mine in the fridge to get them to cool, but I wish I hadn't, cuz they got too hard and I had to wait for them to heat up again.  Cutting the caramels is a pain in the butt.  I tried scissors and a sharp knife and both were very tedious and lame.  But look how adorable they are:

Then wrap in parchment paper.  I rubbed the bottoms in salt before I wrapped them (more salt! more salt!).  I used 2 inch by 4 inch pieces and just twisted the ends.  These should keep for a few weeks, but you probably won't have them around for a few weeks.  They rock.

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