Sea Salt Caramels

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t on the salted caramel bandwagon when it first started popping up all over the place.  Maybe I tried the wrong dessert, maybe the salt-to-caramel ratio was off, but somewhere along the way I ended up falling in love.  With just the right amount of sea salt, the flavor of caramel is heightened to a new level of ooey-gooey chewy deliciousness.

This recipe for sea salt caramels was on my to-do list for a long time.  I’m a bit intimidated by the idea of making something that requires a candy thermometer that I have used, oh, maybe two times.  But with a little patience and keeping a careful eye on the temperature, I found the effort to be so worth it.

With the holidays coming up, caramels make an amazing gift, whether they are enjoyed as is or melted down into an indulgent little treat for sliced apples and scoops of vanilla ice cream. Or go ahead, make a batch all for yourself. No judgment here.

Sea Salt Caramels
(Courtesy of The Kitchn)
Makes about 50 caramels

1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tsp sea salt (fleur de sel), plus extra for sprinkling on top
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Candy thermometer
Wax paper to wrap caramels, or individual candy cups

Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.

Bring the cream, butter and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan; then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248°F, the firm-ball stage. Carefully stir in the cream mixture (the mixture will bubble up.) Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. The temperature should not go higher than 250°F.

To get the caramel consistency you want, test by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a bowl of cold water. It will form a ball, which you can test with your fingers. Stop cooking when the ball is the consistency that you want.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan or candy cups and cool 2 hours. If using wax paper, cut into 1-inch pieces with a sharp knife, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of paper, folding ends or twisting to close like taffy. Enjoy!