Mindylynns Kitchen

April 23, 2010

Salted Caramels

Filed under: Candy,Food — Mindy M. @ 3:58 pm

IMG_4242I went to lunch with my friends Tina & Jaclyn, and since Tina and I are sushi buddies we went to Hiro’s in Petaluma, an amazing sushi restaurant. After lunch we walked across the street and found a little candy shop that had some crazy good caramels. It was there that I was introduced into the wonderful world of salted caramels. In this sad little county in which I live there is no where to get these so I’ve been deprived through 8 months of pregnancy cravings, until today. I spent days googeling looking for a caramel recipe that did not use corn syrup…I found 1, From chez Pim.  I then preceded to walk into my kitchen and sans candy thermometer I made my very first batch of carmels.  OH MY GOD.  I wanted to call everybody I know and exclaim to the world how yummy these were.  I’m beside myself with glee and I can’t stop running to the kitchen to nibble on them.  Enough gushing…and back to the cooking.

Salted  Caramels

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
2-3 tbsp butter
1 Tbsp Vanilla
fine REAL salt (I used a very nice sea salt from trader joes that I crushed up to be a little finner than it came)

In a small pot warm the cream.  Add sugar and honey into a large stainless steel pot (like a stock pot) and stir them together.  Turn the heat to high and without stirring let the mixture come to a boil (be careful this is molten sugar).  When the mixture reaches the state of caramelization that you prefer (inother words color; tan for mild and dark brown for strong bitter carmel) carefully whisk in the butter and then slowly pour in the cream (careful it will bubble up quite a bit).  Turn the heat down to medium low and continue to cook the caramel.  I didn’t use a thermometer but it would come in very handy at this point, the goal is to create a chewy candy consistency so instead of using a thermometer and a temperature to achieve somebody else’s preferred level of cheweyness. I kept a large bowl of ICE water next to the stove with a spoon and I checked the caramel every 2-3 minutes by dipping the spoon into the caramel then cooling it in the ice water.  Then I taste tested it. Just before it was done I mixed in the vanilla. I removed the caramel from the heat when it was a little softer than I preferred thinking that it would continue to cook for a few more minutes as I transfered it onto it’s final resting place, it did a little.  I then poured it into a parchment lined cookie sheet and let it cool.  While it was cooling I sprinkled my salt on top and anxiously awaited the final product…OH MY GOSH was it good.  Now the only question is…to top it off with chocolate or not?
*note a cookie sheet was much too large of a cooling vessel.  Next time I’ll try a 9×9 square pan instead of the cookie sheet.

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