Oh, man. So I have to start this with a confession. I thought these were going to be quick little candies to throw together and gift to some folks who I’m going to see tomorrow for Thanksgiving but not again before Christmas. Hours later, I have to say that Food Network lied. Cooking time was NOT 20 minutes. Or maybe they meant you will watch your stove in a panic for 3 hours trying to make sure that more caramel won’t boil over out of your saucepan and onto your impossible-to-clean stove.
Either way, these caramels are cracktastic and definitely worth it. I’m kind of glad I had just enough for two bowls to give away as gifts or they might have all gotten gobbled down tonight. They’re THAT good.
I basically went by this recipe until it got to the “refrigerate for hours” part: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/fleur-de-sel-caramels-recipe2/index.html
Ina Garten is a beast when it comes to making awesome, decadent things, and that’s what I was after. As soon as I found out she had a salted caramel recipe, it was on.
Sugar, corn syrup, and water boiling away, trying to get darker. This took way longer than anticipated, and I kept asking Ryan “is THIS ‘warm golden brown?'”
Butter, cream, and salt, waiting to dump into the sugar mixture, cause a molten-cream-sugar volcano, and almost but not quite boil out of the pan.
And then I dug out the candy thermometer and waited for 248 degrees.
And waited…. This was after I got impatient (about an hour in) and cranked the heat too high on my finicky stove and caramel boiled over the side and down into the burner. That’s going to be fun to scrape off tomorrow.
And waited…. The caramel finally started to change texture probably an hour and a half, maybe two hours in. It took forever and I kept checking to see if it was going to boil over again. When it got thick enough I wasn’t terrified it would spontaneously gloop over the sides, I cranked the heat and waited it to make it to 240 degrees. Close enough.
I don’t have pictures of this part, but this is where I differed. Ina says to refrigerate til hard. I read somewhere online to dump the caramel goop into a parchment lined 8×8 and throw the whole mess in the freezer for 20 minutes so it’s just hard enough to cut into. I froze for 30 mins, then it was just barely hard enough to cut up, but still pretty gooey.
I also realized at this point that I didn’t have wax paper to wrap the little caramels in. So makeshift parchment paper wrappers were go. They actually turned out kind of cute.
And there you have it, super yummy, sticky fleur de sel caramels, ready to gift tomorrow