Growing up these were always one of my favorite treats, I couldn"t wait for these to come out of the oven. Luckily this is one of the easiest candies you"ll ever make as well. The recipe is very straightforward and there are only a few tricks.
I have to admit when we first started trying to make caramels, it didn"t always go as planned. with a little practice and continually going back to the drawing board we came up with a foolproof easy salted caramel recipe that we want to share with you today.
Here are a few tips for making the perfect soft salted caramels
Before you get started, make sure that you have the recipe in front of you either on an iPad or a printed copy. I like to make sure that I have all my equipment ready to go in the ingredients are measured out. The reason I do this is that when you"re making candy if something"s going to go bad it will go bad fast.
The big secret to making great caramels is to avoid crystallization, this is what makes your caramels grainy. it"s important to do everything you can to avoid wrecking the texture.
Probably the number one tip is when you"re adding in your granulated sugar, added very slowly and with control to the center of the pan. Don"t allow the sugar to just splash into the pot where might get up on the sides of the pan, This causes crystallization.
If you do get a little bit of sugar on the sides of the pan here is a great way to get rid of it. Once you"ve added your water, corn syrup, granulated sugar and brought it to a boil, simply cover the pan and leave it for a full minute. What you"re doing is trapping in all the Steam and moisture which will melt any sugar that got on to the sides of the pan and bring it back down into the mixture.
Okay so let"s get down to making these salted caramels here"s what you"re going to need:
½ cup of unsalted butter
½ cup of heavy cream or whipping cream 36 to 40% butterfat content
3 tablespoons of water
¼ cup of light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
½ a teaspoon coarse or flaked sea salt
Preparation before you start cooking the candy
Before you start to make the Salted caramels you"re going to want to make sure that your equipment is all ready to go. the first thing you"re going to want to do is lightly oil the loaf pan, Now cut a piece of parchment paper that will just fit inside the pan and go up the sides about an inch and a half. Lightly oil the parchment paper on both sides. This is going to make life a lot easier when you are trying to take the salted caramel out of the pan.
Now measure out your half cup of whipping cream and your half cup of unsalted butter. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to a mixing bowl along with your whipping cream. Place this mixture into the microwave and cook for about 1 minute until the butter has completely melted. You can now set this mixture aside.
Now we"re going to measure out our syrup ingredients including a quarter cup of light corn syrup, and one cup of granulated white sugar.
It"s time to start cooking, the first thing that we want to do is add 3 tablespoons of water to our saucepan, Then add in your light corn syrup to the saucepan, followed by the sugar. When adding the sugar do it slowly, use control and try to keep all the sugar in the middle of the saucepan not allowing it to splash up on to the sides of the pan. Now using a spatula stir the sugar gently into the water and corn syrup mixture, again trying to be careful to not allow any of the sugar to splash onto the sides of the saucepan.
The recipe is a two-part process
This recipe doesn"t get much easier, it is truly just a two-part process:
During part 1, we make our sugar mixture which includes corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar. we cook this mixture until it reaches 320 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees Celsius. Now if you"re familiar with the candy making term “hard crack stage”, you"ll realize that this temperature is past that"s stage. Typically the candy will become hard and brittle at this point. Because we are actually passing the hard crack stage the syrup will begin to caramelize and you"ll actually notice that it takes on an amber color. keep in mind it"s important not to pass 320 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees Celsius.
In the second part of this recipe after you"ve reached 320 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees C, you need to add the butter and cream mixture to the syrup mixture. cook the combined ingredients until they reach 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 115 degrees Celsius. If you stick to this temperature once the caramels are completely cooled, they will still be soft and chewy. If you prefer a harder candy, just bring the temperature up closer to 245 degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius.
The cooking process
Okay turn on your burner to about medium heat, bring this mixture to a boil. Once this mixture is at a boil we want to make sure the no sugar crystals are on the side of the pan, so as discussed above we are going to cover the saucepan and let it boil for 1 minute.
After one minute we"re going to remove the saucepan lid and adding a candy thermometer. We will continue to cook the syrup mixture on a pellet reaches 320 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees Celsius.
Now we"re going to a dark cream and butter mixture slowly, Only adding a little at a time, use the candy thermometer to stir this mixture into the syrup. Take your time with this step, do it slowly and carefully so that none of the mixtures bubbles over. Now place your candy thermometer back to the side of the saucepan and cook the mixture until it reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit or 115 degrees Celsius. As discussed earlier this will create a nice soft and chewy caramel if you want a harder caramel simply allow it to cook a little bit hotter up to 245 degrees Fahrenheit.
At this time go ahead and pour the caramel mixture into your loaf pan, let it rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.
A great tip for easy clean up would be while you"re waiting the 15 to 20 minutes for the caramel to cool down slightly, take your saucepan fill it with water, put your candy thermometer in it and bring it to a boil on the stove for about a full minute. This will melt any of the remaining sugars that are in the pan and make clean up a breeze.
Now that the caramel has rested for about 20 minutes and cool down slightly, you can add your sea salt to the top. next, just let the caramel rest for 3 to 4 hours until it"s fully cooled and formed up well still sitting in the saucepan.
All that you need to do now is remove the caramels from the saucepan, and cut them into any shape you like.