When I find a recipe to work with, it goes through a transformation to make it to "My Favorites" list. For caramels, I want:
- Creamy texture; not too chewy,
- Buttery flavor with a little oomph,
- And WORTH THE CALORIES when it's time to taste.
With holidays just around the corner, here is my all time favorite recipe for Creamy Bourbon Caramels w/ Sea Salt.
Making caramel is not hard but you need to be careful and keep a close eye on your mixture taking care to not splatter yourself with hot sugar (a.k.a. liquid napalm). Having the right tools and your ingredients prepped and ready is key to caramel making success!
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Step 1: Ingredients and Tools
- 4 cups Sugar (800 g)
- 1 cup Unsalted Butter (227 g)
- 2 cups White Corn Syrup (682 g)
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 20 oz Evaporated Milk (567 g)
- 4 oz Bourbon (113 g)
- Fleur De Sel Sea Salt
Step 2: Prepare Ingredients
Put Butter, Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Kosher Salt in Dutch Oven
Pour Evaporated Milk and Bourbon in Glass Measuring Cup. Place it within reach of Butter/Sugar mixture
Place Silicone Liner in Glass Pyrex Baking Dish. (Tip: Place a kitchen towel or something similar to prevent movement when pouring finished caramel from Dutch Oven to Glass Dish)
Step 3: Melt Butter/Sugar Mixture
On Medium Heat melt butter/sugar mixture and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally but keep a close eye on mixture. Adjust heat if needed to keep mixture boiling but not scalding. Increase stirring with spatula at this point. Sugar is getting hot, put on your kitchen glove if you haven't yet.
Step 4: Set Timer 25 Minutes and SLOWLY Add Evaporated Milk/Bourbon Mixture
This step is the key to your caramel making success!
Set a timer for 25-30 minutes and slowly add a portion of the milk/bourbon mixture a bit at a time. This entire process should take 25-30 minutes; stir constantly.
(TIP: Each time you pour a small amount of the liquid into the pan, your caramel mixture will rise up and boil rapidly; it may also splatter so be prepared to take a small step back)
Step 5: Bring Mixture to 238 F
Once all the milk/bourbon is added, use a thermometer and bring mixture to 238 F, not a bit hotter. Use an Instant Read thermometer, it will be more accurate. You may find it handy, however, to keep a Candy Thermometer in the sugar/butter mixture. 238 F is the ultimate goal for your caramels to reach.
Step 6: 238 F - Remove From Heat and Pour Into Silicone-lined Dish
Once the caramel mixture reaches 238 F (anything over this and the caramel will be chewy), remove from heat and pour into your prepared dish.
(TIP: Do Not scrape the bottom of the pan! Caramel is at a higher temperature on the very bottom of pan and usually tougher/chewier. This will leave hard spots in your finished caramel. Instead, scrape the bottom into a smaller dish and eat it separately. This is the cooks portion - haha!)
Step 7: Cool, Cut, Salt and Wrap
Allow caramel to stand for 24 hours before cutting. Cut and place each caramel on cellophane candy wrapper. Sprinkle some Fleur De Sel on top of each and wrap.
(TIP: Twist each end of the wrapper in opposite directions to keep the caramel sealed)
Second Prize in the
Kitchen Skills Challenge