December 15, 2010

Salted Butter Caramels


You would think that after doing 12 days straight of Christmas cookies I would be tired of baking. I actually had gotten used to baking so much and now something just doesn't feel right... I think I'm going through cookie withdrawal!

My daughter has the sweetest kindergarten teacher and awesome bus drivers and I wanted to do something special for them for the holidays. So, I decided to make them something as a thank you for all of their hard work in teaching and taking good care of my daughter. Cookies were my first thought... until I remembered that I have several batches of cookies to make right around Christmas, so I decided to go with candy. It has been a while since I have made caramels, so I decided to make David Lebovitz's awesome recipe. I wrapped them each in waxed paper and stored in an airtight container. They can hold for up to a month. It's a perfect gift that you can make ahead of time! I hope they like their gifts!

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Rounded 1/2 tsp plus 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 1/2 c light corn syrup
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/4 c salted butter, cubed and room temperature; divided
Directions:
  • Line a 9-inch loaf pan with tin foil and spray it with cooking spray.
  • Heat the cream, 2 tbsp of the butter, vanilla and 1/2 tsp sea salt in a small saucepan until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm while you cook the syrup.
  • In a medium, heavy-duty saucepan (4 qts) fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn srup with the sugar, stirring gently to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir as necessary to keep from getting hot spots. Over stirring the sugar will prevent the crystals from forming as easily.
  • Cook until the syrup reaches 310 degrees F.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture, until smooth.
  • Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 260 degrees F.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining butter cubes, until melted and smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wait 10 minutes and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Once cool, lift out the foil with the caramel, peel away the foil and slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.
  • Wrap individually with waxed paper.
  • Enjoy!

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