It may have taken several days, and six attempts, but I finally have a recipe for caramels that I’m happy with! I think I’ve tried pretty much everything under the sun to get the right texture and taste…. changing the amount of cream, the stovetop temperature, the cooking temperature, adding the cream and butter before cooking versus after cooking… I never been so close to giving up on something! But I’m glad I didn’t, because they’re so good. And now I’ve got the recipe and method down pat. Rather than using corn syrup, I used a combination of honey (because it’s better than corn syrup) and molasses (because it reminds me of home). And I used dark spiced rum for flavour – tastes like christmas. Here’s the recipe:
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons fancy molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 ¾ cups sugar
splash of lemon juice (this will help keep it from crystallizing!)
1 teaspoon spiced rum
fleur de sel
Prepare a 6″x6″ square pan, by lining it with parchment paper, and greasing the paper with oil. Cut out squares of parchment paper to wrap the caramels in when they are done (I cut 32 3″x4″ pieces).
In a medium sauce pan, combine the butter, cream, molasses, honey, sugar, and lemon juice. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Stir only for a minute or two, until the butter is melted. Then clip a candy thermometer to the pan, and don’t stir anymore! (Stirring can potentially cause crystallization. Over low heat, the ingredients should heat uniformly without having to stir.)
It will begin to boil, at which point you can swirl the pan a couple of times. Continue heating until the thermometer registers 280F (which will take about 20 to 30 minutes overall).
Remove from the heat, and immediately stir in the rum. It will bubble and temporarily double in size when you do this. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan, without scraping the sides. Leave the caramel for five minutes before sprinkling fleur de sel over the top.
Let the caramel sit for at least four hours, until the pan has reached room temperature. Then, place the pan in the fridge for one hour.
Remove the caramel from the pan, and peel off the parchment paper. Cut the block into small pieces (I cut 32 pieces), and wrap each in a parchment square. Store in the fridge (you probably don’t need to, but they do contain cream, so I figured it might be safer).
So delicious! And totally worth all the trial and error…