November 9, 2010

Salted Caramels

Something you should know about me.   I hate night shifts.  Hate them with a passion.  To say that to work a block of them ruins my week is only nine tenths true.  One tenth of my week continues to be enjoyable, between the hours of 4-9 when I can do normal people things, eat dinner and relax with my dog.  Maybe bake (even though I usually do this in the morning) and clean a little.  Everything else is totally messed up, my clock is completely off and the thirty minute commute home is the deadliest drive I make in the year.  
These could help make my night shifts slightly more bearable.  These salted caramels are divine.  Dark and sweet with a lick of salt they melt in your mouth, yet are very chewy.  You can’t consume these fast, if you chew them they’ll make your teeth stick together.  You need to savour these, it’s a built in requirement.  The salt makes the caramel really shine, while cutting down on the sweetness.

Salted Caramels - adapted from here

You don’t need anything fancy to make these, though not everyone has a candy thermometer, it’s definitely necessary for this recipe’s success.  
300g (1 1/2 c) sugar
1/2 c light corn syrup
1 c heavy cream
75 g (5 T) butter
1 t fleur de sel
1/2 t vanilla
Line an 8 inch pan with parchment, leave an overhang on two sides to make it easier to pick up later.  Spray with oil to coat.  In a deep saucepan combine sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 c of water and place on med-high heat.  Continue to boil until mixture is golden brown syrup, careful at the end, it turns fast.  Meanwhile combine cream, butter and fleur de sel and place over med-low heat until it simmers, then take off heat.  
When sugar mixture is a warm, golden colour take it off the heat and SLOWLY add the cream mixture into is whisking as you go.  Watch out it will expand rapidly and mine even bubbled over a little.  Stir in vanilla and insert candy thermometer into pot.  Cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the thermometer registers 248 degrees.  This is the firm ball stage.  Immediately pour caramel into greased pan and refrigerate until firm.  
When the caramels are cold take them from the fridge and lift using the parchment handles onto a cutting board.  (I had to leave mine at room temperature for 40 minutes until they were soft enough to cut, otherwise they shattered.)  Cut into 1 inch squares and sprinkle with fleur de sel.  I keep mine at room temperature so they are ready to pop in my mouth at a moments notice.  Extras freeze.

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