soft salted caramels (no corn syrup!)

Holiday season is quickly hurdling our way.  It seems like just yesterday I was sitting by the poolside eating frozen watermelon cubes and trying not to bake in the sun.  However, today, I am knee-deep in homework with a dire craving for baked goods (particularly Christmas cookies and anything caramel-y).  Instead of starting my history paper, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to start building my holiday inventory #procrastibaking.  From November to January, the area surrounding my house permanently smells like butter and sugar, chocolate chips are shipped by the pound to my doorstep, and my Kitchen Aid’s busy whipping up egg whites like it’s nobody’s business.  I must have plenty of cookies, toffees and other goodies stashed away at all times. It makes me feel secure.  What would happen if I was caught off guard without a cookie in store?  I don’t know, but I don’t want to find out.  Just like squirrels start hoarding nuts around this time or year, I start hoarding candies.  It’s my natural hibernation instinct, and I don’t want to mess with nature…

Things are all fine and dandy until I make things like these soft, salted caramels… I can’t simply “stash these away.”  They are incredibly addictive.  Everyone who has received these as a holiday gift can’t stop eating them.  Problem is that since I’m human, I love these too, and if I keep stuffing them in my mouth at this rate I won’t have  any leftover to give as gifts.  I’ve tried everything to stop nibbling into my stash, but my efforts are futile.  I even tried freezing them… did you know salted caramel is delicious frozen? Yeah. It tastes like the dreamiest caramel ice cream ever.  These bring out the animal in me.

But you won’t do that right? 😉

Do yourself a favor and make these this weekend.  Trust me, they are surprisingly easy and I felt like an absolute magician when I sliced into real-live caramel that I made myself from cream, sugar, and butter.  Plus, they have none of that icky corn syrup mumbo-jumbo, so you can feel a little bit better about eating all a few of these.  Share the love and give them away to friends, family, neighbors, the mailman, and the security guard on L1 who always remembers your name… or you could eat them all yourself.  Either way, you’ll thank me for the recipe.

What kinds of gifts are you planning to make this holiday season?

With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tb vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 4oz salted butter, room temperature
  • coarse sea salt (I used La Baleine Coarse Sea Salt)
  • special equipment: candy thermometer 

Combine sugar, honey, and vanilla extract in a large non-reactive
pot. Turn on the heat and let the sugar and honey melt and cook until
caramelized (it will slowly become a deep, dark brown color.)
While the sugar is cooking, bring the cream to a simmer.
When the sugar reaches the color you like, whisk in the butter in
small knobs, until well mixed, then add the warmed cream, whisk until
smooth.
We let this mixture cook until the temperature reached 233F. 
Pour the hot caramel onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Let
cool about ten minutes, and then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Continue
to let it come to room temperature, and then cut into small squares,
roll, and wrap in packets of parchment or waxed paper.