Family Advent Calendar, Day 17: Make and Eat Soft Salted Caramels [Then, Make More for Teacher Gifts]

2013day17Caramels
Today, for our “treats the kids have never tried before” segment, we’ll be making and eating Soft Salted Caramels. 
Then, we’ll make a second batch as a pretty packaged holiday present for teachers and helpers.

Soft Salted Caramels From the Lunchbox Season
Soft Salted Caramels

an adaptation of a clipping from Gourmet from several years ago

Ingredients
1 c heavy cream
5 tbs unsalted butter, cubed
2 tsp+* fleur de sel or pink Himalayan salt [we had the latter on hand, so we used it]
1.5 c white sugar
.25 c light corn syrup
.25 c water
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs cognac, rum, or even flavoured whiskey [optional, totally optional!]
Parchment and Butter or Baking Spray
Candy Thermometer
Wax Paper [optional]

SoftSaltedCaramelsCOllage

Method
Dab an 8×8 square baking pan with a bit of butter or shots of baking spray.
Line the baking pan with two trimmed sheets of parchment paper crossed in an x and folded up so as to rise up over the sides of the pan.
Oil or butter the parchment lightly.
In a small saucepan, bring cream, butter and salt to a boil over med low heat.
Remove from heat and set aside.
In a heavy medium saucepan, bring sugar, syrup and water to a boil over medium heat, stirring just until the granulated sugar is dissolved.
Insert candy thermometer.
Boil over medium low heat without stirring until the sugar reaches a golden caramel hue. [Based on experience, this temperature can vary between 300-320. We have had repeated success with 315F.]
Remove from heat.
Whisk in cream mixture and watch the mixture increase in volume.
Insert and attach candy thermometer.
Heat without stirring until caramel reaches 250F on a candy thermometer.
Remove from stove and add vanilla and optional alcohol, stirring with a spoon or whisk.
The mixture will foam up a bit again!
Pour into prepared baking pan and cool for at least 3-4 hours.
*If desired, after about 20 minutes of cooling, top caramels with a small bit of additional salt [esp if it’s a pretty colour!]
Remove from pan.
Slice into thin rectangular lengths with a pizza cutter.
Wrap individually in rectangles of waxed paper, twisting at the ends to close.

Soft Salted Caramels
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