Friday, December 17, 2010

Salted Caramels

This is one of my all time favourite recipes. Possibly my favourite, at least in the top 3. Boiling sugar scares me or rather I should say 'scared me'. I have overcome my fear as these caramels are so worth trying.

For the last 2 years I have only ever made these caramels at my mums so I have someone more experienced guiding me. But as my parents have fled the country and living in Russia at present I had to go alone this year. Firstly I wait until all the kids are in bed as I'm so worried about little children being anywhere near boiling sugar. Then I have Joel on hand to help pour the hot caramel into the jug. I would recommend having a helping hand so one person can hold the pot and tip whilst the other can scrape out all the delicious caramel with a spatula.

At mum's I cooked the caramel in a heavy based saucepan but this time I used a big cast iron pot which made the cooking process incredibly quick. The other useful extra I have this year which I haven't had previously is a silicone mini brownie mold. Generally I am not a fan of cooking in silicone at all but I make the exception for these caramels as they just need to set. I bought the mold specifically for the caramels as I always struggle to cut the slab of caramel into even sized bites. Amazingly the entire batch fits perfectly in the mold and then I leave it for an hour before popping in the fridge. Then you just pop the perfect little caramels out, slice them in half and wrap them. The mold is such an exciting find!

Flicking through these photos I can see such a difference in colour in the caramels. I have photographed two different batches I made and one is a lot darker. Depending on how far you take the sugar, corn syrup and water will determine the colour. The recipe calls for a light golden colour but you can take it a little further for a deeper caramel colour.

I found this recipe at Design Sponge where they make a lovely little origami box out of gift paper to pop the caramels in. They are called Fleur de Sel Caramels as they use Fleur de Sel which I don't have but I'm really keen to get my hands on some after reading this post from David Lebovitz. Instead I use Maldon sea salt. The recipes calls for 1 teaspoon and I find it needs more then that. At least 1 1/2 teaspoons so I do wonder if Fleur de Sel is well ... saltier.

These don't set as hard as I would like them to so best to store in the fridge and eat them straight from the fridge. But having said that I only seem to make these in the middle of a hot Australian summer so maybe no refrigeration is needed normally.

salted caramel

(slightly adapted from Design Sponge)

1 cup of heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin and lightly oil the paper.

In a small saucepan bring the cream, butter and fleur de sel to the boil then set aside.

In a large heavy based saucepan over a low to medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water until the sugar dissolves. Then swirl the pan from time to time until it turns a light golden colour.

Carefully pour in the cream mixture. It will bubble up. Then let it simmer, stirring often until the caramel registers 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Pour into the prepared tin and let it cool completely.

When I use the silicone mold I pour the caramel into a heat proof jug and then work quickly to pour into the individual molds.

Once set they can be sliced into small pieces and wrapped in wax paper. Twist the ends of the wrapper.


  1. mmm, looks good. Natalie do you have any good Dukka recipes. A friend gave me some special olive oil and I thought a good snack on Christmas day would be to use this oil with dukka and bread???

  2. There is one stand out recipe that comes to mind. One from Karen Martini.

    Tunisian dukkah

    Just combine the following ingredients.

    150g pistachio kernels, chopped
    150g blanched almonds, toasted and crushed
    2 tbsp sesame seeds
    2 tbsp ground coriander
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp nigella seeds
    1 tsp caraway seeds
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    ½ tsp chilli powder
    ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    Pinch of ground cardamom
    Pinch of saffron threads

    But it is a lot of ingredients. The first one I made was from a Good Taste magazine years ago. I just found this link and figure it must be the same recipe. It is quite simple and delicious.

  3. Have been meaning to make these for ages - thanks for the reminder!! Definitely going to make some for my mum for Christmas. Tho i'd better hurry!

  4. I want to make some and give it out to the kids this Christmas! That is one pretty idea.