Salted Caramels

This is one of my all time favourite recipes. Possibly my favourite, at least in the top 3. Boiling sugar scares me or rather I should say ‘scared me’. I have overcome my fear as these caramels are so worth trying.

For the last 2 years I have only ever made these caramels at my mums so I have someone more experienced guiding me. But as my parents have fled the country and living in Russia at present I had to go alone this year. Firstly I wait until all the kids are in bed as I’m so worried about little children being anywhere near boiling sugar. Then I have Joel on hand to help pour the hot caramel into the jug. I would recommend having a helping hand so one person can hold the pot and tip whilst the other can scrape out all the delicious caramel with a spatula.

At mum’s I cooked the caramel in a heavy based saucepan but this time I used a big cast iron pot which made the cooking process incredibly quick. The other useful extra I have this year which I haven’t had previously is a silicone mini brownie mold. Generally I am not a fan of cooking in silicone at all but I make the exception for these caramels as they just need to set. I bought the mold specifically for the caramels as I always struggle to cut the slab of caramel into even sized bites. Amazingly the entire batch fits perfectly in the mold and then I leave it for an hour before popping in the fridge. Then you just pop the perfect little caramels out, slice them in half and wrap them. The mold is such an exciting find!

Flicking through these photos I can see such a difference in colour in the caramels. I have photographed two different batches I made and one is a lot darker. Depending on how far you take the sugar, corn syrup and water will determine the colour. The recipe calls for a light golden colour but you can take it a little further for a deeper caramel colour.

I found this recipe at Design Sponge where they make a lovely little origami box out of gift paper to pop the caramels in. They are called Fleur de Sel Caramels as they use Fleur de Sel which I don’t have but I’m really keen to get my hands on some after reading this post from David Lebovitz. Instead I use Maldon sea salt. The recipes calls for 1 teaspoon and I find it needs more then that. At least 1 1/2 teaspoons so I do wonder if Fleur de Sel is well … saltier.

These don’t set as hard as I would like them to so best to store in the fridge and eat them straight from the fridge. But having said that I only seem to make these in the middle of a hot Australian summer so maybe no refrigeration is needed normally.

salted caramel

(slightly adapted from Design Sponge)

1 cup of heavy cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon fleur de sel

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin and lightly oil the paper.

In a small saucepan bring the cream, butter and fleur de sel to the boil then set aside.

In a large heavy based saucepan over a low to medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water until the sugar dissolves. Then swirl the pan from time to time until it turns a light golden colour.

Carefully pour in the cream mixture. It will bubble up. Then let it simmer, stirring often until the caramel registers 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour into the prepared tin and let it cool completely.

When I use the silicone mold I pour the caramel into a heat proof jug and then work quickly to pour into the individual molds.

Once set they can be sliced into small pieces and wrapped in wax paper. Twist the ends of the wrapper.

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8 Responses to Salted Caramels

  1. Fivenine says:

    mmm, looks good. Natalie do you have any good Dukka recipes. A friend gave me some special olive oil and I thought a good snack on Christmas day would be to use this oil with dukka and bread???

  2. Natalie says:

    There is one stand out recipe that comes to mind. One from Karen Martini.

    Tunisian dukkah

    Just combine the following ingredients.

    150g pistachio kernels, chopped
    150g blanched almonds, toasted and crushed
    2 tbsp sesame seeds
    2 tbsp ground coriander
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp nigella seeds
    1 tsp caraway seeds
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    ½ tsp chilli powder
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch of ground cardamom
    Pinch of saffron threads

    But it is a lot of ingredients. The first one I made was from a Good Taste magazine years ago. I just found this link and figure it must be the same recipe. It is quite simple and delicious.
    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/12277/dukkah

  3. sam at cooks larder says:

    Have been meaning to make these for ages – thanks for the reminder!! Definitely going to make some for my mum for Christmas. Tho i'd better hurry!

  4. http://oakdiningroomtables.org/ says:

    I want to make some and give it out to the kids this Christmas! That is one pretty idea.

  5. Kristine St Ledger says:

    Hi, I’m a Brisbanite too & am just wondering where you got you’re mold from. I’m down for the school Xmas bash & am getting ideas for cake/sweet stall.
    Thanks!

    • natalie says:

      I bought it from Taste which has since moved to James Street. However I haven’t seen them there in a while. Try Executive Chef on Merivale Street in South Brisbane. I am pretty sure I saw one at a little shop at Rosalie. It is a new-ish shop near the Blue Room cinemas. Just a tiny shop which has cooking wares and I am sure I saw one there just a few weeks ago. But I know Executive Chef has a few different ones to choose from.

      On another note – I did a little market stall leading up to Christmas last year and the big winners were the Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
      http://teaforsix.com/2011/12/21/cinnamon-roasted-almonds/
      and jars of cookie mixes. The beauty of those is that they are so quick to prepare. I had a bowl of the Cinnamon Roasted Almonds out for people to sample and that was the key. The cookie mix in a jar looked so lovely and makes a brilliant foodie gift. The recipe I used is deep in one of my boxes but I googled and found this one which sounds similar.
      http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/24777/white+chocolate+and+cranberry+cookies
      All the best with the stall!

      • Kristine St Ledger says:

        I’ve been meaning to reply to your response. Thanks so much for the hints.
        Ended up getting it through Amazon (my husband was on business trip to the USA so got delivered to a colleague – for $9.50ea!)
        Have bookmarked the cinnamon almonds & will suggest the cookie jars.
        Just caught up with your blog – hope the stay in San Fran is going well. When we did a trip through the USA last year I remember salivating at the Whole Foods stores & the food displays there – even asking if I could take photos esp of the ORGANIC bananas for 89c/lb. But equally joking that it should be called “Whole Pay” which is what you leave behind after a shop!

        • natalie says:

          You’ve got to love Amazon! The cinnamon almonds are so good. I bought some spiced pecans a couple of weekends ago and they are incredible. I need to find the recipe. I’ve also been given another great recipe for Chilli and Cumin Almonds from a dear friend that I have to share.
          Yes Whole Foods is foodie heaven. Just sometimes I’ll find a good bargain. But mostly I’m just window shopping!
          Happy Christmas baking!

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