Caramel anything is good, in my opinion. Homemade caramel anything is spectacular.
Never made candies before? Don't worry--this is a pretty darn easy recipe to follow, great for a first-timer.
One batch makes approximately 100 perfect bite-sized caramels. I say approximately because I didn't count theirresistible caramels that my daughter and I sampled. Quality control is, you know, important and stuff. Yeah.
Ingredients for Fleur de Sel (Sea Salt) Caramels:
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice
sea salt to taste, for sprinkling on top of the caramels.
In a small saucepan, bring butter, cream, and the teaspoon of salt to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Boil sugar, water, and corn syrup in a second, good sized (4 quart-ish) pot. Stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Once the sugar is dissolved, stop stirring! Gently swirl the pan until the ingredients turn a light golden caramel color. Watch carefully--this happens quickly!
Carefully stir the cream mixture into the sugar mixture. It will bubble up impressively, but don't worry! That's why we used a biggish pot. Keep stirring until the mixture reaches 245 on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat, and quickly stir in the vanilla and vinegar (or lemon juice).
Pour into an 8x8 pan. Here's my secret weapon in caramel-making. See this blue pan here:
Look how gorgeously it pops out of the silicone pan! So easy when you have the right tools!
Cut into pieces. You can use a knife, or kitchen scissors. Both work, but I usually grab the scissors, myself. One word of advice--don't turn out the caramels and then leave them sitting on the cutting board for an hour or so. It will meld to the board and stick with a force heretofore unknown outside of the superglue testing labs.
Wrap the pieces in squares of waxed paper. You can also buy commercial candy wrappers, but I've had sticking issues with those, and I love the classic, old-fashioned, homemade look of the waxed paper.
These will technically last for weeks, but who knows, because they're so delicious you'll definitely eat them more quickly. They're that good.