the appetizer:

Salty Sweets: Delectable Desserts and Tempting Treats by Christie Matheson, includes recipes like Salted Caramels; Black-and-White Almond Bark; and Dark Chocolate Fleur De Sel Cupcakes with Snappy Butterscotch Icing.


Salted Caramels

Makes 40 to 50 pieces

Salted Caramels


I have gone through phases when I am seriously addicted to salted caramels and need to get a daily fix. The beauty is that it doesn't take much to ease the craving—these are perfect little bites of goodness that satisfy. Not many recipes in this book call for a candy thermometer, but I do recommend using one here. If you don't get the caramel hot enough, or if you cook it too long, it won't turn out right. (I know—I've messed up plenty of batches. But don't worry; if it doesn't set for you and stays soft, it makes a yummy sauce for ice cream.) With a thermometer, though, you take the guesswork and uncertainty out of the process.

1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, then lightly butter the parchment.

2. Combine the cream, butter, vanilla, and sea salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for about 4 minutes, then remove it from the heat and set aside.

3. In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. If there are any sugar crystals on the side of the pan, brush them down with a damp pastry brush. Once the sugar is dissolved, boil without stirring—swirling the pan occasionally to keep it cooking evenly—until it's a light amber color and the candy thermometer registers 340 degrees F, about 7 minutes.

4. Turn the heat down to medium-low, carefully stir in the cream mixture (it will foam up a lot), and simmer, stirring often, until the liquid is 246 degrees F on the candy thermometer, 6 to 8 minutes. The temperature may hover in the 200 degrees to 220 degrees F range for a while, and then it will start to increase pretty quickly, so watch it carefully.

5. Stir in the fleur de sel, then pour the caramel into the prepared baking dish (don't scrape the saucepan or you might get some burned bits that are stuck to the bottom): let cool for at least 3 hours. Cut the caramel into approximately 1-inch squares and wrap each square in waxed paper or aluminum foil. The caramels will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Sweet Idea!

Dip the cooled caramels into melted milk chocolate or dark chocolate and garnish with a few flecks of fleur de sel. Let the chocolate set firmly before serving.


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This page created May 2010