The third candy recipe I made for my Halloween Candy-Making Event* is something I’ve wanted to make for quite a while – the fabulous Ina Garten’s Fleur de Sel Caramels. All of Ina’s recipes that I’ve made in the past have been delicious and this one was no different. I’m sharing the recipe here because I made a few changes to Ina’s original recipe, in both the ingredients and method.
These soft little caramels are rich and flavorful with the perfect texture; they’re chewy, but they don’t stick to your teeth the way store-bought soft caramel has the tendency to do. Ina cut her caramel into 16 pieces, but I cut mine into 64 (1-inch) pieces for a more manageable bite-sized sweet treat. These candies are the perfect Halloween indulgence for adults, and around the holidays I think they’d make very pretty party favors too.
Here are some tips to help you when making caramel:
- When the boiling sugar mixture turns a warm golden color it’s time to add the cream/butter mixture. Be careful because it very quickly goes from a light amber color, to a golden amber color, to burned. And since it’s most likely to do this the instant you turn your back (sugar is a vengeful thing :) ), be watchful.
This is the warm golden amber color your sugar should be when you add the cream/butter mixture.
- The caramel should be cooked until it reaches firm ball stage, which is around 244-248F. I like to remove it from the heat right at 244F because the temperature continues to rise slightly even once taken off the heat source.
- When you’re chilling the caramel before cutting it, you can leave it in the fridge overnight. If you decide to do this, it might be a bit too hard to cut when it’s taken directly from the fridge, but you can let it sit for about 5-10 minutes at room temperature and then you should be able to work with it. (But don’t let it sit out too long or it will be too soft to cut and you’ll need to re-refrigerate.)
- If you store your caramels in the fridge be sure to let them sit at room temperature for about half an hour to soften up before serving.
Salted Caramels (Adapted slightly from Ina Garten’s recipe for Fleur de Sel Caramels)
(Yield: 64 pieces)
1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c light corn syrup
1/2 c water
1 c heavy cream
5 TB salted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Fleur de sel (for sprinkling on top)
Canola oil (to oil the pan)
8 by 8-inch baking dish
3-quart pot (about 6 inches in diameter and 4 1/2 inches deep)
Another small saucepan (large enough to hold about 2 c)
Step 1: Get out all the ingredients and equipment you’ll need for this recipe.
Step 2: Line the bottom of an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper so that it hangs over 2 sides; use a pastry brush to lightly brush the bottom and sides of the prepared pan with canola oil.
Step 3: To a 3-quart pot, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Turn the heat on medium-high, bring the mixture up to a boil, and then cook until it turns a warm golden amber color. You can swirl the pot to mix the ingredients, but do not stir.
Step 4: While the sugar mixture cooks, in a separate small saucepan heat the heavy cream and butter over medium-low heat until it simmers. Turn off the heat and keep warm until ready to use.
Step 5: When the sugar mixture is a warm golden amber color, slowly add the cream/butter mixture; be very careful, as it will bubble up. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the vanilla. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the caramel reaches 244F (firm ball stage) on a candy thermometer.
Step 6: Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared baking dish. Cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until solid enough to handle.
Step 7: Using the parchment paper as grips, remove the caramel from the pan (you might need to run a sharp knife along the sides that are against the baking dish), then use a sharp knife to cut it into 64 (1 inch) pieces. Sprinkle a little fleur de sel on top of each piece, then wrap in parchment paper that has been cut down to size. Store in the fridge or at room temperature.
*A huge thank-you to Guittard Chocolate Company for sponsoring my Halloween Candy-Making Event!