CARAMEL ~ soft, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, slightly salty… yum, what could be better!
I seem to have this crazy fascination with perfecting the recipe of the most delicious, buttery, melt-in-your mouth caramel. After making tons of batches, this one seems to match all the requirements that I consider to be the perfect caramel; soft, buttery, slightly chewy-but not taffy like, melt in your mouth delicious, and a perfect balance between sweet and salty. I become mesmerized by the bubbling concoction as it puffs and pops and rolls. I love to watch the changes from the rolling boil to a thicker, quieter, rumbling pot of glistening gold.
As an inventor, I feel the need to always try to bring about a wow factor to my creations. My caramel making is no different. Below are a few pictures of some of the toppings I add to my caramel to make them stand out!
Ingredients list for Salted Caramel:
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), I use salted because I love salted butter
- 1 pint whipping cream (2 cups)
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tbls vanilla
- optional: Fleur de Sel, pink Himalyan salt, mini m&m’s, toasted almonds, any other topping you prefer
Other items needed:
- large, heavy saucepan with lid
- candy thermometer
- wooden spoon
- 9 x 13 inch baking sheet lined with parchment that overhangs on the sides to easily lift the candy from the pan once it’s cooled down.
- spray oil
- pastry brush or silicone spatula
- measuring cutting pad (optional, if you want specific measurements for your caramel)
- pizza cutter (or sharp knife) for cutting the caramel. I use a 22″ steel rocker type.
- parchment or cellophane squares, 3″ x 3″ pieces
Begin by preparing your baking sheet. Spray the cooking oil onto the baking sheet and then lay a piece of parchment paper over the surface. Lightly spray or butter the parchment paper to allow the finished caramel to easily be removed from the pan.
Place the saucepan on top of the stove over low heat and add in the butter, whipping cream, evaporated milk, corn syrup, white and brown sugar, and salt.
Allow the sugar to dissolve by slightly mixing all the ingredients together. Mix as little as possible as sugar crystals love to form with a lot of mixing. Also, try to keep the sugar from splattering on the sides of the pan. Keep the sugar inside the liquid as much as possible.
When the sugar is well combined with the liquids, turn the heat up to medium-low and place the lid on top of the pan. As the ingredients heat up, occasionally swirl the pan to help keep the mixture from burning.
After several minutes of condensation forming in the pan, remove the lid and wash down the sides with a pastry brush. Sometimes I use a silicone spatula for this task. This allows potential sugar crystals to dissolve before forming and creating a grainy candy.
Keep on cooking, and cooking, and cooking, until the thermometer reads 248-250 degrees Fahrenheit. On my stove, this takes about an hour. When the temp reaches about 235-240 degrees, I slowly stir the pot with a wooden spoon. The less stirring, the fewer sugar crystals form. Some directions say to not stir at all, but my caramel tends to get too hot and burn if I don’t move it around in the pot a bit.
Now that you’ve reached the proper temperature, remove the candy from the heat and let it sit for a minute or two to slightly cool down.
Add in the vanilla and stir until incorporated.
*For a delicious caramel sauce, at this point add in 1/2 to 1 cup cream and stir until well combined. Pour into mason jars and allow to cool down to room temp before placing in the fridge. Reheat before using as an ice cream topping, pancake syrup, French toast topping, or if you’re like me, I eat is straight from the jar with a spoon!
Pour the liquid into the prepared pan and sprinkle with Fleur de Sel, mini m&m’s, roasted, chopped almonds, or any other topping you like.
Let rest for two to twenty-four hours.
Get really creative by pouring homemade fudge onto one section of your pan and then pouring caramel on the rest. Using a table knife, draw the fudge down into the caramel section and slightly swirl to create a gorgeous piece of candy art!
Place your measuring cutting pad on the counter and lift the candy from the pan, remove the parchment from the bottom, and place onto the cutting pad. Cut the caramel into pieces about 1″ x 3″ and wrap with parchment or cellophane squares. Twist the ends to close the cute little packages.
Box up the wrapped caramels or place them in a decorative cello bag and give it as a gift or eat all by yourself! Shhhhh, I won’t tell!
Sometimes I like to make jar caramel by cooking only to a temp of 240 degrees. Take a spoon and dip it into your jar as a treat! Of course, dipping a tangy, green apple into the jar sauce is a perfect Halloween treat!
During the process of making your caramel, please note that the candy liquid gets extremely hot and will burn if it splatters on you. And be sure not to take a taste of the bubbling candy, no matter how tempting it seems, until it is completely cooled down.
Keep a bowl of ice water in close proximity to submerge your hand if it gets splattered with the lava-like liquid.
Enjoy making your candy and let me know how it turns out!