Right, so holidays have well and truly begin and that wonderful time of over indulgence and gluttony is on its way. What could be better than these beautiful little french caramels as an oh so chic addition to your festive offerings? With the help of a sugar thermometer and about half an hour of your free time, which face it you have in abundance of anyway, you can whip up these chewy sweet salty darlings.
3/4 cup thickened or double cream
1/2tsp vanilla extract
1/2 and a little extra fleur de sel or sea salt flakes
1/2cup goldern or corn syrup
1cup caster sugar
60g of salted butter cubed
1 loaf pan which you have lined with foil and then sprayed
Heat up the cream, 2 tbs of butter and 1/2tsp of salt in a pan until it begins to boil and then remove from the heat. Cover and set aside.
Add the syrup and sugar to a largish pot and begin to heat gently, stirring to make sure that it melts smoothly. It also makes a really fun bubbling/ gurgling noise when you mix it, which is a bonus. At this point click your sugar thermometer onto the side of the pan so that you can see what the sugars are up to. This is not optional you will need one of these.
Cook until it reaches 155'C. Then turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture, careful because it might spit.
Adding the cream mix will make the heat drop so you will need to turn it up a notch and keep cooking until it recovers to 127'C. I know that the temperatures here seem over exact but trust me they work. Sugars are sciency and temperamental and I am not willing to be a temperature maverick when these tasty caramels are on the line.
When you successfully reach 127'C hopefully with out burning you or who ever attempted to eat the caramel off the spoon. Pour the whole mix into your pre-prepared loaf tin. Note this is not a loaf tin. I have lost my loaf tin behind the draw which the tins are kept in and it appear irrecoverable. You will get thinner caramels if you use a tray like this.
Wait ten minutes. Then sprinkle the remainder of your salt flakes on top of the setting caramel. To speed up the setting process it is a good idea to pop it onto a baking tray so that the air can circulate. Allow it to cool completely before slicing it with a sharp knife and a steady hand.
I like to wrap them in wax paper like little bon bons. But this takes ages and it is a mind numbingly dull activity. However, at the time I made these it still appeared a far better offer than late night study.
They do look adorable wrapped up and make a great low priced Christmas/ sorry I ...(insert appalling "silly season" incident here) present. If you lack the patience or the fine motor skills to make bon bons then just make sure they are not all sticking to each other and don't put them in the fridge. A air tight container will see you new butter caramels through to the end of the year.