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fleur de sel caramels
Posted By camille On December 16, 2008 @ 10:02 am In food | 3 Comments
Ever since I first had one of these caramels at a friend’s wedding a couple years ago, I was hooked, obsessed, and a sweet tooth convert all at once. They were from Boule patisserie. I went and bought a $20 box of them and gave them as gifts that following Christmas. Since then, the lower brow version has come on the scene, The Little Flower Candy Company makes smaller, chaper ones that are quite tasty. And since then, I have been making them myself. Spending $20 now means gifts for about 8 people, not just one.
Now that’s what I call ‘less is more’.
Paula Deen would be so proud. Another form of butter, cream and sugar at its best.. salty, creamy, buttery, and sweet all rolled into a tiny cigar-like slug of love.
Fleur de Sel Caramels:
Makes about 100+ pieces
2 cups heavy whipping cream
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4+ teaspoon fleur de sel (reserve 2 tspn for sprinkling on caramel)
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise and scraped
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
parchment paper; digital thermometer. strainer, large pot preferably copper or enamel for even heat distriubution.
Spray with oil a 10″x15″ or 9 x 13″ rectangular baking pan, then line with parchment paper.
Bring cream, butter, and 2 teaspoons of fleur de sel, scraped vanilla beans and pod to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside. This will allow it to steep for a bit.
Use a larger pot than necessary since the mixture will boil up vigorously once the cream is added. Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 4-5-quart heavy saucepan. Stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
Carefully stir in cream mixture through a strainer to catch the vanilla bean pod and unwanted milk foam. Mixture will bubble up a lot here. Be careful of steam at this stage.
Turn heat down to a simmer, stirring frequently, and gently pushing down the crystallized edges, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, about 8-10 minutes (If, after a few minutes at simmer, the temperature seems to be going down you can bump it up to medium heat.)
lots of salt is a good thing
Pour immediately into prepped pan and quickly follow with sprinkling generously with the rest of the fleur de sel or even more. I love to put more than noted so do as you please here, but it is possible to oversalt these. Let it cool for at least 2 hours.
Cut parchment wrappers while waiting for caramel to cool. 4″x5″ I usually take a roll of parchment paper (15″ wide) cut strips about 4″ thick then cut those into thirds. Cut a whole roll for this large batch of caramels, you can always reserve the extra for a next time. It sucks to have to stop the wrapping stage to cut more papers. Trust me.
little slugs of love
Once cooled, lift the parchment paper out of the pan onto a large cutting board and cut into pieces about 2″x 3/4″. I recently discovered another use for my pizza cutter. After using a sharp knife but it was stretching out my caramels every time I lifted it up from the board. The pizza wheel knife works wonders and kept them all uniform in size.
My next attempt will be fleur de sel caramel ice cream. Oh my.
the best use for a pizza wheel, cutting caramels
When adding the cream in to the sugar, I like to use a mesh sieve that can sit on the rim of the pot while I slowly strain the cream into it. This can be very intense as it bubbles up so not having to hold two things is key.
The light golden caramel color stage is very subjective. It’s somewhere between camel-colored wool coat and an amber stone. I personally err on the more amber side.
Use a pizza wheel to cut these. It goes so quickly and keeps the shape for easier wrapping.
When cutting these up and taking them apart, make sure you don’t let them touch or overlap, they will start mushing back together instantly.
Store wrapped caramels in airtight containers, un-refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
Good luck and don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t succeed. It took me a couple tries since I had forgotten how to make them but once I added in my own notes to the epicurious-based recipe above, I think that did the trick. I have since made 2 perfect batches. Who’s been nice this year?
Give away Asap. These are dangerous to have around the house!
Caramels pair nicely with sparkling wine or champagne.
What are the chances that people will keep or reuse a tin or a cardboard box for these caramels? Not a whole hell of a lot. So rather than spend money on those kind of containers, I use these tiny craft color or white paper sacks I got at the craft store.
They hold about 12-15 caramels and I decorated them with some festive whole punch cutouts (thanks Martha!) and ribbon. Not fancy just practical and economical.
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