My good friend Susan is one of those extremely thoughtful people that always remembers birthdays with lovely homemade gifts. She makes you feel special with the little knick knacks that she gracefully places in the mail so that they reach your doorstep on time.
Me, not so much. That’s not to say that I don’t remember birthdays and such because I do, but unfortunately I am one of those people that gets to the gift giving on my own time. Wedding gifts, birthday gifts, greeting cards are always sent, just never in time. I am in no way saying this is acceptable behavior as I know that it is not, but it’s just a fact. This is also the case with these beautiful caramels that I so lovingly put together for Susan two weeks late, but still I know she will love them. If you want to be excused for tardiness, these homemade yummies are always the way to go. Even though they still aren’t the healthiest food, you can still control your packaging, use local dairy, and avoid preservatives by making them at home.
Sea Salt Caramels
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups local organic heavy cream
5 tbsp unsalted local organic butter
1 tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 tsp pure organic vanilla extract
1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.
2. In a deep saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don’t stir, instead swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end.
3. In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 tsp sea salt to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
4. When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel. It will boil up violently so be careful. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for five to 10 minutes, until the mixture is firm (the mixture should reach 248 degrees on a candy thermometer). Pour the caramel into the baking pan carefully. You might need to put it into the refrigerator for a few minutes as well.
5. When the caramel is cool, use the parchment paper to remove the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the flat sheet of caramel in half. Using the parchment paper to shape the caramel, roll it into two logs. Sprinkle each with sea salt.
6. Cut caramel into equal pieces. Cut the parchment into equal size pieces as well about 6 inches x 6 inches. Roll the caramels up in the parchment paper and roll each end like a candy wrapper.
Recipe Adapted From Ina Garten
For a vegan caramel sauce, try Terri’s recipe.