29 Nov Salted Caramels
I’ve been meaning to try my hand at a Salted Caramel recipe for some time. They are, in my opinion, one of the most addictively delicious sweets around! I recently attended the Saveur Blog Awards in Memphis and discovered the perfect locally-made Salted Caramel. With some restraint, I managed to not eat ALL of them so that I had some reference samples to bring back to South Africa and try to copy.
In my research I found that there are 2 different ways to make these sweets – the first is by cooking all the ingredients at the same time until the desired temperature is reached, and the second involves first cooking the sugar to a caramel and then adding the warmed butter and cream and bringing it back up to the desired temperature. I tried both of these methods and definitely prefer the second one – not only is it a quicker method but you also have more control over the level of caramelisation taking place. If you like a dark caramel flavour, you can heat the sugar syrup a bit longer before adding the butter and cream.
Personally, I like a soft textured sweet that doesn’t stick in your teeth, so I only heated the final mixture to 115°C. For a chewier more toffee-like texture, you can go up to 118°C. Either way it’s best to wrap the sweets in wax paper after slicing into pieces to prevent them getting too soft and sticky. I recommend using a good quality vanilla extract for the best flavour.
250ml cream (1 cup)
45g salted butter (3 tbsp)
85g liquid glucose (¼ cup)
200g white sugar (1 cup)
60g water (¼ cup)
5ml vanilla extract (1 tsp)
Salt crystals, to garnish
- Line a small heatproof dish/baking tin (about 15cm x 15cm) with greaseproof paper.
- Place the cream and butter into a heatproof jug and microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot. Set aside.
- Add the liquid glucose, sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Increase the heat to medium and place a sugar thermometer into the mixture. From now on do not stir the mixture, but use a wet pastry brush to brush down any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the saucepan.
- Once the mixture has reached 147°C, or is just starting to turn amber, remove from the heat. (If you prefer a dark caramel flavour, leave it until it reaches max 160°C). Very gradually stir in the hot cream mixture – it will bubble up vigorously.
- Return the mixture to a low heat. Stir only as much as is necessary to prevent the mixture from burning at the bottom of the pan. Continue heating until the mixture reaches 115°C (if you prefer a firmer, chewier texture, heat until 118°C).
- Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the vanilla extract, then transfer the mixture to the prepared tin.
- Leave to cool for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with the sea salt. Allow to set in the fridge for 2 hours before slicing into bite-sized squares/bars. Use a sharp knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry for best results. Wrap individual pieces in squares of wax paper if desired, twisting at the ends.