Ah caramels…everyone thinks they are difficult to make, but in truth, the only hard part is keeping an eye on the thermometer. I’ve made a few variations..including this one: bourbon caramels, where 2 tablespoons of my husband’s precious 20 year Pappy Van Winkle replaces the 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. (He was mad at first, but got over it after 15 caramels, and the disappearance of a tin full). I’ve also replaced the butter with 2 tablespoons of duck fat, and used bourbon for the flavoring. I’ve even made vanilla caramels, fried up bacon, that I crumbled pretty small and sprinkled that on top! It’s a great flavor combo.
By the way, you can use any kind of salt you like, or none at all. Let me know if you experiment with any other flavor combos, next weekend I’ll be using spiced rum and ginger sugar to make caramels.
These are great individually wrapped in wax paper for the holidays and you can mold them to the shape you like, also I don’t know anyone who will turn away a tin of homemade caramels.
Bourbon Sea Salt Caramel – 36+ pieces of caramel
2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pink sea salt + more for sprinkling
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons bourbon – don’t use anything you wouldn’t drink!
Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and lightly rub with canola oil the paper.
Combine all ingredients except for the bourbon in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-high until it begins to boil, stirring frequently. Once boiling, insert a candy thermometer into the mixture, and turn heat down to medium. Cook until the mixture reaches 245 degrees F, gently swirl the pan, avoid stirring. Monitor the temperature closely when temperature gets to 240 (it will climb fast) so mixture does not reach 250 degrees F.
Remove the saucepan from heat, and gently stir in bourbon. Pour into prepared square dish. Let sit for 20 minutes and sprinkle with salt, top of caramel should still be warm. Let cool for at least 2 hours or until set. Spray your knife with non-stick baking spray, and cut caramels into bite size pieces. Either wrap individually, or space evenly on wax paper, and place in tin.
Happy Holidays! Bon Cooking!