1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan (or loaf pan) with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.
In a deep saucepan (6 inches diameter by 4 1/2 inches deep) combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel 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!
In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
When the caramelized sugar is the right color (the mixture should turn a golden color), slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel – it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Starting at 1 end, roll the caramel up tightly until you’ve rolled up half of the sheet. Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly. You will have 2 (1 by 8-inch) logs. Sprinkle both logs lightly with fleur de sel, cut each log in 8 pieces. Cut parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
So, I didn’t have any fleur de sel at all when I made this caramel. What is fluer de sel you might ask? This is what wikipedia had to say about it. Fleur de sel (“Flower of salt” in French) is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. Traditional French fleur de sel is collected off the coast of Brittany. Due to its relative scarcity, Fleur de sel is one of the more expensive salts. It is usually sold in airtight jars as it is slightly damp.
I never even bothered to see if my grocery store had this and I used regular kosher salt instead. It isn’t as pretty as fleur de sel is but it worked. I really like making different kinds of candy now and I think it can be fun! The directions on this recipe are pretty easy to follow. I had looked at other caramel recipes before making this and those said to wait until the sugar, corn syrup mixture turns a golden color. That is when you add in the cream. I don’t know why I was so scared to add in the cream mixture to the sugar mixture? Maybe because I thought the whole thing was going to boil over and I didn’t want a big mess to clean up after. When these delicious little caramels were finished I wrapped them in parchment paper and put them in Christmas tins to give to people as gifts along with the fudge that I had made earlier. I hope people like them!
Oh yah, and a jar of this salt is about 12.99!!!