Thursday, December 13, 2012

Xmas Baking - Salted Caramels

Christmas is a time of indulgence, especially of the sugary kinds. In an effort to keep my holiday budget under control, I decided this year I'm giving homemade gifts. There are all kinds of awesome DIY ideas out there, so why not put them to good use??

Most people focus their holiday baking skills on cookies and fudge, but we decided to be a little rebellious and make caramels. Neither Kerry nor I had made caramels before but when I found this salted caramel recipe, I knew I had to try it out.

To our surprise, it actually ended up being pretty easy. We're looking forward to sending out these little pieces of deliciousness out to our friends who don't live in town, just as a reminder of how sweet we are on them. 

What You'll Need to Make DIY Salted Caramels:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling on top. 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8" square baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Candy thermometer (or a deep-fat thermometer)
  • Wax paper for wrapping or paper candy cups
First you'll want to prepare your 8x8 pan by placing the parchment paper inside of the pan and making sure the paper covers the sides of the pan. Lightly oil the pan. Then Bring the cream, butter and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.

Boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan; then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248°F, the firm-ball stage. This happened pretty fast on Kerry's gas range. 

Next, carefully stir in the cream mixture—the mixture will bubble up. Simmer, stirring frequently for about 15 minutes. The temperature should not go higher than 250°F. We didn't have a problem with this though, it didn't even get close once we put the cream mixture in and turned down the heat. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and cool 2 hours. 

Finally, cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, folding ends or twisting to close like taffy.

Et Voila!! You have homemade salted caramels!

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