Saturday, February 6, 2010

Number 41: Fleur de sel caramels

My favorite candy bar when I was a kid was the Milky Way bar. Mostly because of the caramel. So in honor of that, as well as some caramel cravings amongst the inhabitants of room 214, I decided to try my hand at real caramel.

Salted caramel ice cream
was already on my "Success List," but real caramel, I discovered, is a lot more time consuming. I was reading sections of Andrea Dworkin's "Intercourse" (oh, gender theory) in front of the stove for at least an hour.

The difficulty was somewhat multiplied by the fact that I did not bring my candy thermometer from home. Fortunately, the recipe called for the caramel to be cooked until firm-ball stage, something which can be realized without a thermometer. No need for fanciness in this dorm.

To check the cooking process, I simply dipped a wooden spoon into the cooking caramel every 10 minutes or so. Then I would run the spoon under a trickle of cold water to see how it reacted. If the caramel was easily washed away, it was definitely not ready. If the caramel moved but gathered somewhat, it was at soft-ball stage. If the caramel stuck onto the spoon but didn't move or gather, I scraped it off and rolled it into a ball. Usually this means it's pretty much done, but if you want a firmer caramel, wait a little longer and start noticing the hardness of the caramel when cold. Ours turned out a bit soft, so we store them in the fridge for a firmer texture.

It's pretty annoying, actually. Simple, but repetitive, so if you do have a candy thermometer, use it. It'll make life easier.

So enjoy! Take a night to make these, and sprinkle with sea salt before wrapping. The best part is the zing of the salt against the creamy caramel.

Fleur de sel caramels
adapted from vanilla & lace

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
2.5 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fleur de sel/sea salt

1. Line a 5x8, or smaller, cake pan with parchment paper, lightly buttered
2. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and half of the heavy whipping cream. Cook over medium heat. Number 5 on NU stoves. Stir constantly and bring to a boil.
3. Once boiling, drizzle in the remaining cup of cream. Do this slowly and evenly - you want to keep the mixture boiling.
4. Reduce heat to medium low (I chose number 3 on our stoves) and boil without stirring for 5 to 6 minutes.
5. Add butter in three installments, stirring after each melts.
6. Allow to boil over medium low heat (2-3) until the mixture hits 250 degrees F, or firm-ball stage. This should take 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Once you have reached the right temperature, remove form heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
8. Pour into the prepared pan and let sit until it reaches room temperature and hardens.
9. Cut up into rectangles or squares, whatever you desire, and press into sea salt. Wrap in wax paper.

Caramel on Foodista


jesophi said...

yummi!! I wil try it .

Alisa said...

Fantastic!If you won't mind, I'd really love to guide foodista readers to your site. Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and you're all set. Thanks!

christine said...

Hello Jess! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. This is actually a cool Fleur de sel caramels recipe. Keep it up and I may see you on Food Network one day. By the way you can place more Foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other Foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!