Introduction: Salted Caramels

Picture of Salted Caramels

When people are asked “Who is you hero?” you might often hear responses like “Martin Luther King,” or “Superman,” or “Abraham Lincoln”

Me?  My hero doesn’t don a unitard or matching cape.  My hero hasn’t really altered modern day society as a whole (although, she was part of the Carter and Ford Administration working on nuclear policy).  Nope.  My hero wears custom made blue button up shirts from Italy, lives in the Hamptons, and plays bridge with very attractive gay men.  My hero is the one, the only Ina Garten.

One time, I drove about an hour, and waited in line for two hours to get Lord Ina’s autograph.  As I waited, I had practiced over in my head all the things I was going to say to her.  Things like “you have inspired me to be a better cook,” or “you have shown me to cook with love.”  But when I finally got my turn to stand in front of her, I was so starstruck, and could only utter the words “Your shirt is blue!!”  She smiled and nodded at me, then eyeballed her staff, as to suggest “SECURITY, we got a live one!”

Anywhoo what I’m trying to say is that this recipe I am about to post is really just one huge BIG UPS to Ina.  I don’t have some cherished family recipe passed down from generations.  Hell, I’m Asian, and my grandma is chilling in that Dim Sum restaurant in the sky.  It’s not like “Salted Caramels” could have ever come from me.   But in a fantasy world, Lord Ina is my grammy, and she has passed me this recipe to share with my Instructables friends.  So with my deepest respect to Ina Garten, I share with with you Fleur De Sel Caramels.  

I have added a little variation of mine to appease the choco-holics in my life.  I hope you enjoy!  Now how easy was that!


Step 1: Ingredients & Tools

Picture of Ingredients & Tools

The ingredients you will need:

-Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup of Water
-1.5 Cups of Sugar
-1/4 Cup of Light Corn Syrup
-1 Cup of Heavy Cream
-5 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
-Sea Salt (Fleur De Sel) Enough to sprinkle on top  (I'd stay away from ultra refined, granulated sea salt, as the potency level is stronger, and it lacks that sort of "rustic" look that you get from flaked or coarse sea salt)
-1/2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
-1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)
-1 oz of Unsweetened Chocolate (optional)

The tools you will need:

-Two heavy saucepans.  I have not done this with a teflon pan, if that is all you got, I'm sure it's fine. 
-Candy thermometer
-Measuring cups
-Parchment Paper
-8x8 baking pan
-Food Brush
-Wooden Spoon

Step 2: Prep the Pan

Picture of Prep the Pan


Before you get started, why not prep the pan?  This way, you can devote your time to making sure you watch that candy thermometer!  No need for added distractions.  Cut the parchment paper as shown in the picture below.  Once it is fitted, with long bits draped over the edge, lightly brush vegetable oil on the parchment paper.

This will prevent sticking.  What I should have done, was also lightly brushed the walls of the baking dish that were going to be in contact with the caramel, because it ended up sticking when it came time for me to pull the candy out.

Step 3: Heat Up Ingredients

Picture of Heat Up Ingredients

Pour the water, the corn syrup and the sugar into a saucepan at least 6"wide and 4.5" deep.  (I'll explain why later)

Heat this mixture on high. 

While that is getting set up, pour the cream, and the butter into another saucepan, and heat on medium till hot.  The cream will heat up before the sugar is done, so keep the cream on low, as not to burn it (although, if I recall, cream doesn't burn like milk does because of the fat in it... or something).

Once you get the sugar to a boil, let it continue to bubble until it starts to turn into a golden brown color.  Don't use a spoon to stir this mixture, instead, simply swirl the pot around to mix everything up.  Once the color has turned into a rich golden color.... do a quick jig, because THAT my friend, is caramel!

But don't stop there, because we are about to take things up a notch. 


Step 4: Things Start to Get Violent

Picture of Things Start to Get Violent


Remember how I said to get a sauce pan that was at least 6" wide and 4.5" deep?  Well the reason for that is because when it comes time to put the cream in with the caramel sauce, the mixing of the two fluids causes it violently bubble and it will double in size.  But don't worry, it won't bubble over (if you have a deep enough pot) and will settle down shortly after.

So once you have this gorgeous golden bubbly stuff, turn the heat off.  Then slowly, pour the hot cream and butter into the caramel.  Throw a candy thermometer in, turn the heat back up to a med/low, and then wait....

Keep a close eye on that thermometer, you want to pull it from the heat at 248F. 

Now is a good time to rehearse the alphabet backwards, or work on some stretching.... but whatever you do, don't walk away from the stove.


Step 5: Pour & Wait

Picture of Pour & Wait

Once you have hit 248F.  Pull the candy thermometer out, and pour the hot caramel into the parchment paper lined pan.  Be careful because this stuff is hot!  It is tempting to put your finger in the vat of hot caramel magma, but don't do it.... consider yourself warned.

Once you have scraped every last bit of caramel out of the pot like a fiend, go ahead and put the pan into the fridge and let it set for at least an hour. 

When its thoroughly chilled, bring that puppy back out!

Step 6: Cutting and Salting

Picture of Cutting and Salting

Take some parchment paper, and cut out little squares.  This will be the candy wrapper.  3"x3" squares oughta do it, of course that will also depend on how big you are cutting your candy pieces to be.

Once it is cooled, carefully pull the parchment paper out remove the whole slab from the 8x8 pan.  Plop it upside down on the cutting board and peel away the paper.  It should come off with no problems since we brushed it with vegetable oil before.

Then taking a nice, big, sharp knife, cut the candy into smaller pieces of your liking. 

Sprinkle the pieces of caramel with some sea salt.  I'm using coarse sea salt, but if you have flaked sea salt, that looks great too. 

Step 7: Wrap and Enjoy!

Picture of Wrap and Enjoy!

Using the bits of parchment paper, wrap up the little morsels and put them into a candy dish. 

Actually no, wait.  Take a piece for yourself.  Close your eyes.  Ignore the dishes.  Say a little something to Ina,  and just enjoy your delicious creation. 

Step 8: Oh What? You Want Chocolate Too?

Picture of Oh What? You Want Chocolate Too?


So to make a good thing better, you can cover your little caramel pieces in chocolate.  To do this, you want to take some caramel bits, but BEFORE you cover them in salt, first dip them into some melted chocolate.

I used a double broiler, and melted the chocolate down till it was nice and creamy.

I the plopped a piece of caramel into the chocolate and coated. Then I carefully placed them on some parchment paper and while the chocolate was still wet, I sprinkled the sea salt over them. 

Place these little treasures in the fridge to cool.

Step 9: Repeat Step 7: Wrap Em Up!

Picture of Repeat Step 7:  Wrap Em Up!


Just like the other caramels, once they have set, you can do the whole "two for me, one for you" bit.  Don't worry, I won't tell.

Comments

applesaucemodifier (author)2011-03-16

Very tasty! thanks for the recipe. I've tried to recipes so far. I like this one because the turn out harder and they are great for sucking on, also think that they end up with a richer flavor then other recipes i have tried. Here they are, wrapped up all pretty.

Oooh! THose look great! The wrapped ones look so cute. I remember wrapping mine up and thinking, "my boyfriend is just going to inhale these anyway, should i bother?"

Casabamelon (author)2011-02-20

Just curious what type/size pot you use for your caramels. After I scorched my wife's $400 Allclad pot, I've been looking for something just for caramels. As you noted, it needs high sides, but doesn't need to be wide like a 6 quart pot. Also, spout sides would be nice. What I really want is one of those butter warmers only about 2x the size.

angelabchua (author)Casabamelon2011-02-20

I couldn't afford the Allclad's however i wanted a heavy and sturdy stainless steel set. For the caramels, I ended up going with a 2qt sauce pan from Pampered Chef. Some people online argue that they (Pampered Chef) suck, but I absolutely love the set, and it was quite affordable (I think i got like 10 pieces for just under $900)

My saucepan is about 6.5" wide with a depth of close to 5". It doesn't have a pour spout, but it works out nicely.

Hope this helps!

rbowlin7 (author)angelabchua2011-06-30

good lord!!! $900.00 for a set of pots??I'll bet a set of 10 was 5 pots and 5 lids?? (LOL)
how did the caramels turn out?

angelabchua (author)rbowlin72011-06-30

It was a pretty awesome set actually. And yes, it counted lids, but very much worth it. Once I switched to stainless, my cooking got much better, and you can really see a difference in the quality. I love it. :)

As for the caramels. They were deeelish!

Casabamelon (author)angelabchua2011-02-20

Cool! Thanks for the info!

I just about had a heart attack when my wife told me how much her Allclad cost. Thank goodness for boiling baking soda, which saved the pot.

Thanks again!

canida (author)Casabamelon2011-03-24

Check ebay for used stuff - I've found used AllClad cheap there, and a good pot lasts nearly forever.

littleberry (author)2011-02-25

Nice instructable! I've made caramels before using a different recipe, but may have to give this one a go (recently discovered the nomnom of salted caramels :) ). A couple of things I would suggest, though: Make sure you calibrate your candy thermometer first. At sea level, boiling water is 212 degrees. If your thermometer registers something different (making allowances for altitude), you will need to adjust your target temp on the caramels. The candy thermometer I have (Wilton) is off by 14 degrees! I didn't know that (or know about calibrating) when I made my first batch of caramels. They tasted okay, but were likely to pull fillings out of teeth. Once I made adjustments for the thermometer, the caramels came out great. The second thing I'd recommend is not scraping the sides of pan when pouring the caramel into the pan to cool. Often you will have sugar crystallizing on the side of the pan, up away from the heat. If you scrape the pan, you may get those crystals in your caramel which can make the texture grainy. I believe the crystals cause the dissolved sugar molecules to realign themselves in their crystal structure. One last thing--I'd recommend against putting the caramels in the refrigerator to cool. It's a pretty drastic temperature swing for the sugar, but also the hot caramels really raise the temp in the fridge causing it to have to work harder to cool down. Best to let them sit on the counter (or marble slab if you have one) and wait patiently for them to cool to room temp. Maybe run around the block a few times in anticipation of the yummy calories soon coming your way.

Thanks for a yummy instructable!

rbowlin7 (author)littleberry2011-06-30

OK
now I am curious....how do you calibrate a thermometer?? can this be done with any thermometer?
thanks

angelabchua (author)littleberry2011-02-25

Great tips. I never thought to calibrate my candy thermometer! But that makes sense. I have two oven thermometers on hand because of the same issue, the temp it reads is off on the display.

I've also heard not to put in the fridge while hot... sort of like chocolate once you have put it in the double boiler, but for this particular batch, the consistency was perfect and I couldn't see any negative affects in the caramel itself. I will have to test with leaving it on the counter.

The end result with this batch was they were really creamy and soft... like melt in your mouth soft. I was worried they would be more like those hard "brach's" brand caramels, but they were really creamy in texture.

Let me know how yours turn our if you ever make them, and again thanks for those awesome tips!

bowow0807 (author)2011-04-25

hmm I wonder if this would be perfect for a bacon caramel chocolate covered bar by replacing the salt and using instead the natural saltiness of bacon?

bowow0807 (author)bowow08072011-05-07

Also i want to ask when do you add the vanilla!????

garrettg (author)2011-04-18

Congrats on making the eBook with me! Your caramels look delish! Salted, I never thought of that. Great taste though. Sweet and salty, mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Yours in Creating.
Garrett Michael Groves

angelabchua (author)garrettg2011-04-18

Thanks! Yeah, the salt gives them a little bit of "oomf" But yours looked absolutely delectable!

garrettg (author)angelabchua2011-04-18

Thank you! Right back at you;)

Yours in Creating,
Garrett Michael Groves

canida (author)2011-02-20

*drools*

Those look amazing. Are you bringing them in to lab?

angelabchua (author)canida2011-02-20

I am I am... that is, if Craig doesn't eat them all first. I broke down and had two, and was incredibly surprised at how delicious these were! Better than any grocery store bought or boutique candy store caramel!

canida (author)angelabchua2011-03-24

These were amazing! I'm making them soon.

cpkangaroo (author)2011-02-26

Looks amazing!

I was just working on my mise en place and it seems that the ingredients list is missing missing the water called for in step 3. From what I understand in candy making, the water primarily acts to help gently heat the sugar to melting, so I'll give it a shot with a 1/2 cup or so and see how it goes!

kellyhogaboom (author)cpkangaroo2011-02-28

Thanks - I'm making these up now and noticed the water amount is missing.

Gah! yes, it should be a 1/4 cup of water.

Shoot, I already used 1/2 a cup. I'm about to cut them, I'll post back how it worked out!

I also didn't notice where to add the vanilla, but I could have missed that!

cpkangaroo (author)kellyhogaboom2011-03-01

I used a 1/2 cup and it worked just fine. All the water's going to boil out as the temperature of the sugar exceeds 212 F (or whatever boiling is at your altitude).

I added the vanilla at the very end with the cream. As with the water, if you add it too early, the aromatics will all boil out.

Lissote (author)2011-02-24

I think this is one of the few cooking instructables I can actually replicate! Hopefully I will not set my eyebrows on fire like the last time. Thanks for the super clear instructions! :D

moshpit6785 (author)2011-02-20

your shirt is blue lololololol thats so funny. i like Ina too really neat chef. half the stuff she makes i wouldnt touch witha ten foot pole... buuut she still makes it look good.

angelabchua (author)moshpit67852011-02-20

Yes, Ina is amazing, but it's hard to maintain a girlish figure with her recipes.

Half of them contain pounds of butter. There was one episode where she was making lobster mac n cheese for her and husband, and she said the following that just cracked me up...

"This lobster mac n cheese is so thick and rich... it serves 12, but tonight, it's just me and Geoffrey"

i loved it!

moshpit6785 (author)angelabchua2011-02-20

lol yeha that would be funny. i think i may have seen that one. im not to sure. and im not saying i wont touch it cause of the fat content.. im just a really picky eater thats why. but it all does look amazing. some chefs out there can do that. like Jamie Oliver. half of the stuff he makes wouldnt appeal to me.. but when its all done.. its like... ahhhhhhhhhh *drooooooooooooooool*

ChrysN (author)2011-02-20

Those look amazing, especially covered in chocolate!

angelabchua (author)ChrysN2011-02-20

I don't think there is anything in this world that isn't made better dipped in chocolate. This is no exception!

It was surprisingly easy and minimal cleanup!

Ninzerbean (author)2011-02-20

Mmmmmmmm, these look yummy. I would have been star struck too.

About This Instructable

36,033views

222favorites

License:

Bio: Did you know that sewing needles are sharp, and that hot glue from a glue gun really is hot? ouch! I never learn. i should ... More »
More by angelabchua:DIY Gold Foil Printing for Invitations and Envelope LinersDIY Vintage Light Up Marquee LettersEasy Pumpkin Pecan Bread
Add instructable to: