Christmas Salted Caramels
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup half and half
1 ½ cup white sugar
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla or rum extract (I used vanilla but will try a batch with rum extract)
1 tbsp. coarse salt
Combine everything except extract and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until hard ball stage or 250 F on a candy thermometer. The length of time depends on the pot size and level of heat. The first time I made it, it took almost three hours and the second time two hours. I was worried that after all the time it took to form into a hard ball stage that it would not turn out. I stirred the pot every 3 to 4 minutes for hours. One of the tests to determine if it is at the hard ball stage is to drop a bit of caramel into cold water. If the tail of the caramel tear drop stays upright in the water, it is ready.
When it finally reaches the hard ball stage, remove from heat and stir in the extract. Then pour into a greased 9 inch by 9 inch pan lined with wax paper that overlaps the sides. Sprinkle coarse salt on top. Cool completely. Using the edges of the wax paper, flip out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into small cubes with a large long sharp knife. Store between layers of wax paper in a dry place for up to a week. Can be frozen.
This is a delicious. The density is perfect – firm and chewy. It reminded me of the Mackintosh candy bars I used to buy as a special treat as a child. The current caramel bars are thin and brittle. The contrast of sweet and salt is just right and reflects a new post modern food trend. This recipe is definitely a keeper and will become a Christmas tradition. Gluten free.
It is also perfect for giving away as small gifts given the caramels are so decadent.