If you've got a candy thermometer and a sweet tooth, cookbook author and food stylist Annie Rigg has Sweet Things, a whole pile of delicious treats for you to make for friends, family…yourself…really, anyone who comes to mind. With foolproof instructions from a master confectioner, homemade buttery salted caramels are well within reach.
This delicious caramel is the starting point for a whole world of adventures. It is scrumptious as it is — cut into squares and wrapped in paper or cellophane — but I would highly recommend that you seek out some smoked sea salt flakes and try adding those for a taste sensation. You could also coat each caramel square in dark or milk chocolate. Or slice the caramel into delicate fingers and dip the undersides in melted chocolate and nuts or coconut…
- sunflower oil, for greasing
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 stick unsalted butter, diced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes or smoked sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 7-inch square baking pan
- sugar thermometer
- Grease the base and sides of the baking pan with sunflower oil and line with nonstick parchment paper.
- Place the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and heavy cream in a small saucepan and gently melt the butter and dissolve the sugar.
- Stir until smooth, and once the mixture is hot, remove the pan from the heat.
- Place the superfine sugar in a 2-quart saucepan with 2 tablespoons water and set over low heat to dissolve the sugar.
- Do not stir the syrup, but gently swirl the pan to ensure that the sugar dissolves evenly; use a pastry brush dipped in hot water to dissolve any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan.
- Bring the syrup to a boil and continue to cook steadily until it turns an amber color, swirling the caramel in the pan to color evenly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the hot cream mixture into the caramel. It will hiss and splutter as you do this, so exercise caution.
- Stir until smooth and return the pan to medium heat.
- Pop the sugar thermometer into the pan and continue to cook over low to medium steady heat until the caramel reaches 250°F.
- Working quickly, remove the pan from the heat, add the salt flakes and vanilla, and stir briefly to combine.
- Pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan and leave until completely cold and firm (at least 4 hours or overnight) before cutting into pieces with either a hot or lightly greased kitchen knife.
- To store, wrap the caramels in cellophane or parchment paper and keep in an airtight container or storage jar for up to 2 weeks.
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