Day 3 of The Pink Whisk 12 Days of Christmas and today it’s Salted Caramels – the perfect gift for someone special (or indeed you – I won’t tell anyone you made them!)
175ml double cream
135g caster sugar
85g golden syrup
55g demerara sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt flakes (Maldon are excellent for this)
1/2 tsp sea salt flakes for sprinkling
Makes 36 (which is never enough)
Right then, these are really really easy, honestly and they are very very delicious (you can tell how many I’ve eaten just by that last sentence 😉
You’ll need to get some kit together, a sugar thermometer, 2 silicone ice cube trays,a large heatproof jug (Pyrex) dice the butter and put it in a small bowl with the vanilla extract. You’ll also need a pastry brush and a little bowl of water.
Put the 1 tsp sea salt flakes in a small bowl too.
Into a large pan, make sure it is big enough as when the mixture boils it rises up a fair bit, place the double cream, caster and demerara sugar and syrup.
Heat it over a gentle heat, stirring to mix them together evenly.
When it starts to boil, take out your stirring spoon and using the pastry brush dipped in a little water wash down the sides of the pan. This removes any sugary crystals which you don’t want leaving on the side of the pan as they can cause your caramels to go grainy.
Let the mixture bubble away on a gentle boil over a medium heat – no stirring or swirling, just let it do it’s thing.
Check the temp using the sugar thermometer – it needs to get to 121c. This takes about 8- 10 minutes depending on how high a heat you are using. It will quite quickly get to 112c and will then climb slowly to 121c.
As soon as it reaches 121c straight off the heat and add the butter and vanilla extract to the pan. Carefully please as it can sputter once the butter hits the hot caramel.
Get a spatula in and stir it up well, remembering of course that it is red hot!
Once it’s smooth add the 1 tsp of sea salt flakes and stir it through again.
Transfer the mixture into the large heatproof jug. Pour the caramel into the recesses of the silicone icecube tray (trying not to get it everywhere!)
If the caramel is thickening as you are trying to pour out then put the jug in the microwave and give it a quick blast to heat it up and it will soften enough so you can pour it again.
Now set the trays to one side to set. It should set off fairly quickly as long as you got to the right temperature (30 mins to an hour).
Allow them to cool fully.
Now they’re cool pop the trays into a freezer bag. No I haven’t gone mad! Put the whole lot into the freezer for 10 minutes. Because the caramels are chewy if you tried to pop them out then they’d pull out of shape.
Check them after 10 minutes and see if you can pop them out of the tray just as you would an icecube. If they are still pulling out of shape, freeze them for another 10 minutes.
Pop out all the caramels from the icecube tray onto a sheet of non-stick baking paper.
Grind up the 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt flakes with your fingers so that it is very fine and sprinkle over the tops of the caramels.
Now they need wrapping up! You can cut squares of non-stick baking paper to wrap them in but I’ve found that the mini rolls of baking parchment from Lakeland (for lining the sides of cake tins) are the perfect width.
Wrap them all up (minus the few that you’ve eaten along the way) and fill pretty jars or store them in an airtight container at a cool room temp and they’ll last for 3 weeks. (They will keep longer but I’ve found the quality of them starts to deteriorate after that)
And don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another Christmassy recipe!
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire