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.
Makes more than anyone could ever need
Adapted from Betsy, obvy
2 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.