Friday, December 10, 2010

Sea Salt Caramels

I've been obsessed with fancy schmancy salts for a couple of years now, so when I found this recipe for Fleur de Sel Caramels, I knew I had to try it.

I get my gourmet salts from The Meadow, in Portland, OR. Their tiny store is jam-packed with salts, wine, and chocolates, and their staff is knowledgeable and friendly. Their online store is easy to navigate as well. It happens that I had some Fleur de Sel on hand, but I imagine that you could substitute most mild, fine-grain sea salt varieties.

The recipe is easy to follow, though I was confused about the *boil the sugar, syrup, and water* step because it says to boil until the mixture is a light caramel color. I had a candy thermometer in the mixture, and the temp went far over the highest recommended temp for the later step, long before the mixture changed colors. After adding the cream/butter/salt, I boiled the mixture to the recommended temp and then poured it into the parchment-lined pan, and sprinkled it with some flake salt.

The caramels are totally delicious, but unfortunately, they're hard. Not too hard to eat, but they're definitely stick-to-the-teeth caramels, which is not what I had in mind (I was aiming for the soft, chocolate-covered salt caramels that made me swoon in Ventura last September).
However, though they're harder than I wanted them to be, the caramels are still yummy. I cut the batch into far more than 40 pieces, and coated them in chocolate (a 50/50 mix of semi-sweet chocolate chips and chocolate almond bark, it makes for a nice coating). I did sprinkle a little salt on top of a few, but with salt in and on the caramels themselves, I didn't want overkill.

Next time, I'll stop boiling the mixture before it gets to 248 degrees, and maybe I won't worry about the sugar/syrup/water mixture changing colors. There will be a next time- I really want those soft caramels.

(Edited to add: Most of the reviews and comments with this recipe say that the caramels are soft and chewy. My candy thermometer is 30 years old, so it's probably not accurate any more. Most of my fudge recipes have boiling times, and I usually turn the heat off before the thermometer gets to soft ball stage, and the fudge is always creamy. So the hard caramels are likely not the fault of the recipe).


joannamauselina said...

My mouth is watering. One thing I love is a caramel. Especially home made.

Elizabeth said...

I usually use the cold water test for candy.

Barb said...

Try 245. My husband has been making caramel and this temp works well. Thanks for the tip about the chocolate coating. We may try some turtles.