Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sweetie sweets take 2: fleur de sel caramels

It’s that time again – Valentine’s Day. It’s either a holiday that you love or hate. I’m in the love camp. It’s such a great excuse to be a little silly and of course, to cook some sweets! Last year I made truffles in the spirit of the holiday. This year I was taken with a recipe for fleur de sel caramels that I saw in House Beautiful. It’s an Ina Garten recipe. This is just a perfect occasion to employ one of Ina’s buttery, creamy, sugary fattening best! The fleur de sel is the perfect complement to the sweet caramel and pretty to look at as well. Homemade caramels are completely different from the dry, overly tacky caramels that we think of from

I was a bit wary as I’d never made caramels before but they were quite simple and quick. I followed Ina’s recipe to a “t” until I got to the very last step: forming the individual caramels. I’ve adjusted the recipe below to reflect my changes.

p.s. A couple of photography notes: my photo of homemade cinnamon buns won the "aesthetics" award in last month's DMBLGIT - thanks so much Zorra and judges!
Lou Manna is having a photo contest to help find inspiration for the cover of his next book. Read more about it here.

Fleur de sel caramels (by the Barefoot Contessa, adapted from recipe printed in HouseBeautiful)
(Makes 30 caramels)

Vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over two sides.

2. In a deep saucepan (89 diameter by 4 1/2" deep), stir together 1/4 cup water with the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown color. Don't stir — just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!

3. In the meantime, in a small pan, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

4. When the sugar mixture is a warm golden color, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful! It will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248°F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (because it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.

5. When the caramels are cold, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board (note: the caramels will still be supple and easy to handle – if too stiff, allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes). Using the parchment and starting from the long side, tightly roll the caramel up until you have rolled 1/3 of it. Cut along the edge and repeat two more times. Use the parchment to gently roll each log to even out the thickness and smooth out the seam from the cut side. Cut each roll into 8-10 pieces, taking care not to touch the caramel with your finger. Sprinkle each piece with fleur de sel and wrap individually in glassine or parchment paper. Store in the refrigerator and serve the caramels chilled.


Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

I'm very impressed you made these! They look delicious and the salt is a great touch Sabra.

Unknown said...

Now, that is such a special Valentine's gift, S

Anonymous said...

they are gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I always want to make whatever you post. I love your blog so much and I love your photos. Salty caramels have been on my mind for a month now. I want to combine this with your last chocolate recipe and create something new. You DESERVED that photo award.

Anonymous said...

I would recognize those hands anywhere! What is the change you made near the end? Any way to add chocolate to this if my sweetie doesn't like caramel?? He does love candy. SZ

Laura said...

I have been searching for a recipe for these for ages! So excited, am definitely making them for Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

beauty. salty sweet. perfect for v day.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I want to try making these soon - your photos are amazing inspiration!

Eileen said...

I remember seeing this recipe in House Beautiful. Your caramels look amazing. You can count on me to love eating anything that includes Fleur de Sel.

bee said...

i had this at a friend's place and just couldn't stop eating them. thanks for the recipe.

Ashley said...

These look phenomenal! WOW!

Anonymous said...

Oh my Goddess!!! I love fleur de sel caramels!!

Beautiful photos! Just stunning.

I cannot wait to try these. Thank you!!

I just blogged about an aphrodisiac infused Valentines Day picnic at home here, should you be interested.

Happy Valentines Day!!

~ Paula

RecipeGirl said...

These look absolutely scrumptious. I've always wanted to make them myself...

Just Cook It said...


Helene said...

They are absolutely gorgeous! I love the fleur de sel shining on top!

Laura said...

I made these are they are very caramely and decadent...the cream and butter really come through when they are dissolving in my mouth. But I wonder, could they be a little bit saltier?

Sabra said...

Thanks so much for all the comments and enthusiasm! I wish I could take credit for this great recipe, but I can't! I loved it just the way it was - I probably put a little more salt on top than specified (that might do the trick for you Laura) and I could maybe see them chocolate coated (Sudy) but fundamentally, the recipe is for great buttery caramels that will knock your socks off!
Bee: did your friend use this recipe? What a coincidence!
Thanks again!

Liberty Fizz said...

Making them right now, here in England - wish me luck!! ;))

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