Salted caramels… I’m not sure what all of the rave is about. Who wants to bite down into a large chunk of salt when your supposed to be enjoying the luscious taste of something sweet and creamy! “But the salt is pink and pretty”, “it brings out the sweet flavor”, you say? PHOOEY! There’s a bit of salt incorporated into the recipe already, who wants to be bombarded with more! If I wanted something savory I’d sit down with a big bag of my favorite salt and vinegar chips!
Now onto how caramel should taste… rich, creamy and sweet. I want a caramel that’s going to melt in my mouth as I eat it. It needs to leave teeth marks if I bite in half. It shouldn’t snap like the gross ones available at the super market. It’s not to be sucked on. It’s to be chewed and chewed slowly. Its flavor needs to be complex. It shouldn’t taste like pure white sugar or burnt cookies either. It has to be the perfect balance of “browned” sugar. The bitter dark chocolate is enough to complement the sweet nature of caramel. And this is how I think caramel should be enjoyed.
6 Tbs Unsalted Butter
1 cup 35% Cream
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/2 cups White Sugar
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/4 cup Water
1 cup Dark Chocolate
In one small sauce pan combine butter, creme and salt. Bring to a low boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. In another slightly larger small sauce pan combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Be cautious while pouring in ingredients, add them all to the middle of the pot. You want to be cautious that the sugar doesn’t crystallize/burn on the edges of the pot. Heat over medium high heat until sugar mixture begins to turn brown or an amber color. Do not stir the pan, you can gently swirl the pot to distribute the heat if necessary. Approx 310F. But use your senses, it should start to have a caramel-like aroma and will turn a very pretty reddish brown. Now pour your creme/butter mixture into the sugar. BE CAREFUL. It will bubble up ferociously.
Now here’s when your handy thermometer comes into play. Heat mixture, while stirring occasionally until it reaches 248F. Once it does remove from heat and pour into sprayed ice cube trays or a 9X9 pan lined with parchment paper. I used ice cube trays that had silicone bottoms allowing these to “pop” out easier. If using ice cube trays, pop these into the freezer for an hour, or if using a pan cool in the fridge for 2. Melt chocolate either in a double broiler or the microwave. I used the microwave in 20 sec instalments. Transfer chocolate to a plastic baggy and snip a corner. Drizzle on chocolate however you please! Let chocolate harden in fridge and enjoy!