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Thursday
Sep232010

Fleur de Sel Caramels

You guys.

We made homemade caramels!!!

We're feeling pretty chuffed.

It all started last week when the foodie blogosphere exploded with Fall treats, many of which included some element of caramel deliciousness.

And, ever fearless bakers, we're all "we could totes make our own caramels, boo-yah!" 

And, we thought back, where did we last have the most divine caramels ever made?

Duh. Betsy. Who is Betsy, you ask? Essentially our second mummy. Our mummy-once-removed.

She brings her secret-family-recipe homemade caramels to Christmas dinner every year and every year we polish the lot off in, oh, about 1 day.

And then we feel sick.

But not because of the caramels, it's just that no human should ever consume more than 22 caramels in one day or they risk going into a severe sugar coma.

We've done research.

So, we emailed Betsy and we followed her recipe exactly (her words are transcribed below...you get why we love her), with the minor addition of fleur del sel at the end...you know, because we're fancy.

Um, they are pretty freaking awesome. 

Boo-yah, indeed.

Betsy's Caramels
Makes more than anyone could ever need
Adapted from Betsy, obvy

Print Recipe

cups brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup butter, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks
pinch of salt
fleur de sel for sprinkling 

I like making this in a pan with sharp corners instead of rounded ones like pyrex, just personal pickiness.  I also place a greased, heavy duty piece of foil in the pan to prevent sticking. You could use greased parchment paper as well.

Mix milk and cream together and set aside. 

Add sugars, syrup, and salt to a heavy bottomed pot, stirring until mixture comes to a boil over medium-high heat. 

When boiling hard, add butter chunks slowly.  Then, add milk and cream mixture to sugar mixture very slowly (the hot sugar will really boil up at this point so be careful) so that the pan mixture never stops boiling.  

Add the vanilla.

Cook, stirring almost continuously (as can burn easily) to firm ball stage (245F) on candy thermometer.  It takes about 20-30 minutes of stirring, you should probably pour yourself a glass of wine, and watch the temperature. It seems like it takes forever and then will suddenly creep up on you.  Make sure the bottom of the thermometer is in the mixture but not touching the bottom of the pan.

Once at firm ball stage, pour into greased pan and cool for 5 minutes. Then, sprinkle the caramel pan with fleur de sel. Once sprinkled, you can put the pan in the fridge to harden further.

When hardened, you can lift the whole piece of candy out onto a cutting board (thank you, foil), peel off the foil backing and cut into nice rectangles several times. Work quickly. As the caramels comes to room temperature it softens and sticks to the knife.

Wrap the caramels in cut wax paper rectangles and twist ends to close. 

Note: We doubled Betsy's original recipe...perhaps you don't need quite as many...if not, just use an 8- by 8-inch square pan instead of the 9- by 13-inch pan that we used and halve the ingredients above.

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Reader Comments (17)

These look great. Everyone needs a Betsy huh..., Oh wow... gotta try these little beauties :)

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Johnston

Absolutely love it! They look tasty. I tried making them last Christmas and ended up with a 9 X 13 brick! But I must try again since I do love some caramels.

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I love sweet + salty! YUM!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica @ How Sweet

I always make salted caramels at Christmas time. Aren't they good?!? Yours look amazing!!!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea the kitchen Witch

YUM. I'm a total candy/caramel junkie and the salty sweet thing here sounds just delicious. The glass of wine helps too!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTracy M.

ummmmm please send me some!!

September 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatie (d.f.e.m)

wow...Betsey's caramels look positively delicious!! Salted caramels sound so very very good, I must try these! Would this mix do well for caramel apples? I wanted to make them for my girls this year

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChef Dennis

Those look so professional! YUM!

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternewlywed

Your caramels are beautiful! I have made them dozens of times with only a small percetage of success - not an easy feat to make fantastic caramel, and even harder to mak ethem as beautiful as yours. And I love the salt. I usually dip my caramels in chocolate (take a look here: http://cozydelicious.com/2010/02/21/creamy-dreamy-caramels/)

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatie@Cozydelicious

Thanks everyone for the comments! We're totally going to make big batches for Christmas as gifts...the boys ate them right up!

Chef Dennis, I think this consistency (245F on the candy thermometer) would be perfect for caramel apples. What a fantastic idea! Can we come to school at the Mount?

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

These sound so amazing! Love the photos!

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Yum!! Love the fluer de sel :)

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEllie (Almost Bourdain)

Ohmeegosh. Firstly, your site is adorable :)
Second, yuuuuuuuum. I want these caramels right now.

September 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEmma @CakeMistress

Thanks to you both...and your Betsy...for this wonderful recipe!! I just made some last night and they turned out great! They had such a beautiful flavor!!

I'm wondering if you guys have ever made these so the caramels turn out really soft? While I like these caramels a bit on the hard and chewy side, I'd really like to make them soft. Can you do that using this recipe? Do you just cook it less? Or would I need to use a different recipe?

Thanks so much for your help...and also for sharing the recipe. :) Cheers! sheila

November 10, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersheila @ Elements

These caramels were amazing! A friend and I made these for our Christmas goodie plates. We doubled the recipe BEFORE reading the excerpt at the bottom :) Oops! Not to worry, even the quadruple batch that we made was gone before the week ended :) Thanks for the sweets!

December 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine Cyr

I just tried making these today, my Carmel never went past 100* on the thermometer even after about 30 minutes. Do you think maybe I added the cream too soon? It might make a good caramel sauce though, so I'm not tossing it yet!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

My boss made these for me for my birthday and might I say, the BEST caramels I've ever tasted! Fantastic recipe! Thank you!!!!

December 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMisty--Sulphur, Oklahoma

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