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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pink Himalayan Caramels

I'm back a little earlier than expected. I really didn't think I would get anything new done or a post ready before we headed up to Prescott Valley to visit Michael's dad this weekend. But, as luck would have it, insomnia and recovery from the nasty Christmas cold left me feeling like doing a little something in the kitchen this morning.

I'd considered a couple projects I want to try out in the next few weeks including a mint and chocolate cookie. But, what I finally settled on was an adaptation of Ina Garten's Fleur de Sel Caramels.

These delicious buttery caramels are fairly easy to do as candy goes. If you have a little patience, these won't give you much trouble at all. I do have to admit to being a little tickled at some of the comments on the Food Network site where the original of this recipe was hosted. I'm never ceased to be amazed by people who scream bloody murder that the recipe is "COMPLETELY WRONG!!!!" (Seriously, that's the level of their rage.) And go on to explain they reached this insight because their sugar burned to a crisp. Folks, here's a hint - that's not the recipe's fault. That is all you. It is imperative that when baking or candy making that you not only measure exactly but that you also watch when you're cooking. If something says 12 minutes but your dish looks done at 10 minutes - take it out for pity's sake! If a recipe says that a sugar mixture should be heated to 200° and that should take about 10 minutes. Don't set a timer and start catching up on Facebook. Watch the pot and the thermometer and when it hits 200° take it off the heat - whether it's been 10 minutes or 5 minutes!

Anyway, this is not a difficult candy recipe and it was cool enough today that I didn't even have to refrigerate the candy before finishing it up. I left it on the counter on a cooling rack and it was ready to go in a couple hours.

The recipe calls for this to be rolled up into two logs then sliced into 8 pieces each for a total of 16 pieces. I found those pieces were a bit large for the small boxes I was going to use for these so sliced them smaller. I even found the not rolling would work just as well if you'd like small squares. It's really up to you if you want big ol' caramels or something a little daintier.

I was thrilled with the taste the butter shines through in the caramel flavor and the addition of the salt gives them a little extra boost. I used my Himalayan Pink Salt both in the recipe as sprinkled over the tops.

Happy New Year and thanks for sticking with us here at Sugar Pies through 2010!

Recipe: Pink Himalayan Caramels

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tbs. butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Pink Himalayan Salt (or Fleur de Sel), plus more for sprinkling
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Line an 8x8-inch cake pan with parchment paper allowing a 2-inch overhang. Brush parchment with vegetable oil and set aside.
  2. In 4 1/2-inch diameter by 6-inch tall saucepan combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Do not stir mixture, but gently swirl pan to combine. Mixture is ready when it turns a golden brown color (you'll also notice the bubbling diminish as it nears readiness.) WATCH CAREFULLY! At this point the sugar will burn quickly.
  3. While mixture comes to a boil and reaches desired color, place butter and heavy cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once butter has melted and mixture has reached a simmer, remove from heat and keep warm.
  4. When sugar has reached desired color remove from heat momentarily and slowly pour warm cream and butter mixture into it. Be careful as it will bubble up quite a bit! Return to burner and continue to boil over medium heat, stirring with wooden spoon until mixture reaches 248° on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and carefully pour caramel into prepared 8x8 baking pan. Be very careful as mixture is extremely hot!
  5. Allow mixture to cool until set. If necessary, cool in refrigerator.
  6. Remove caramel from pan using parchment sling. Roll from each edge toward center (like a scroll). Remove parchment from bottom of candy. Cut in center into two logs. Cut each log into 8 equal pieces and wrap in parchment or wax paper cut into 6x4 1/2-inch rectangles.

Quick Notes

Adapted from Ina Garten's "Fleur de Sel Caramels" recipe.

Total time: 1 hour 30 min
Number of servings (yield): 16
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
Copyright © Buck Bannister & Sugar Pies.
Recipe by Buck Bannister.

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