Thursday, December 13, 2012

Perfect Salted Caramels

I met Lauren from Craft My Life Away at the From Scratch Club food swaps. As a first-time swapper, I was eager to get to know Lauren... especially since she brought these insane salted caramel bars that were a hot-ticket item at the swap. Seriously, they were soooo good.


Lauren is a pretty nifty lady, as she is a excellent baker/confection maker and crafter. Since each year I try to send my friends and loved ones a little treat for the holidays, I thought I'd ask Lauren to share her Salted Caramel recipe with me (us) - they'd be perfect to send in the post! So, Lauren, have at it. School us in all things caramel!

I am convinced that there is no better homemade Christmas gift than a batch of Salted Caramels.

Making caramels might seem daunting at first, as these tasty treats have always seemed out of reach for the home cook. But, with a few tips and handy tools it is easy as pie to make these unbelievably candies at home. My Husband and I have probably made about 10 batches of these heavenly confections since we first got our hands on a recipe and they have always turned out amazing.

Our recipe came from a Costco Cookbook and we've adapted it a little bit but not enough to warrant changing their recipe below:


Vegetable-oil spray

Parchment paper

4 cups heavy cream

2 cups light corn syrup

4 cups sugar

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons Kirkland Signature Mediterranean sea salt, medium grind

2 teaspoons Kirkland Signature Mediterranean sea salt, coarse grind

**You really should use a candy/oil thermometer


1. Spray a 16 ½-by-11 ¾-inch baking pan (a half-sheet pan) with vegetable-oil spray; line with parchment paper and spray the parchment. Set aside.

2. Put cream, corn syrup, sugar and butter in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to melt butter and dissolve sugar, about 10 minutes. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until temperature reaches 248°F (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla and medium-grind sea salt until combined. Immediately pour into the prepared pan without scraping the pot. Sprinkle coarse-grind sea salt in an even layer over the top. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 24 hours without moving.

4. Using a large knife, cut around outside of caramel in pan. Lift caramel out of pan and remove parchment paper. Cut into 1-by-1 ¼-inch pieces, or other shapes. Wrap each piece in cellophane or waxed paper so they keep their shape. Makes about 150 caramels.

There key to giving these caramels as Christmas gifts is all in the packaging! First, you should definitely wrap these in real waxed paper. Don't use parchment or deli-wrap or anything other than real waxed paper.

We've experimented with cutting the caramels into different shapes, and we really like the 1 1/2inch square the best. I think that size is best because you can have only 1 and be totally satisfied. I promise, you really won't need more than 1 because they are so rich and decadent.

Like everyone else in Blogland, I am very much so on the Ball Jar bandwagon. I love packaging these up in old ball jars with bail lids. It is such a good look! To jazz these up for Christmas you can add some pretty red grosgrain ribbon, or even red plaid ribbon and a little gift tag right onto the bail (wire), that is why I love the bail jars --- it is so much easier to make them look like a gourmet gift.

Get out there and make some caramels, you will be praised, I mean it!!


Holler is right, Lauren. Thanks so much for sharing. Now everyone, head over to Craft My Life Away and show Lauren some love, please!


ktvorwald said...

See, this is a really bad idea, because they'd never make it out of my house to the giftees. Yum.

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Ha! So true.

Aron said...

Salted caramel BARS? Whole bars? Amazing!

Aron said...

Oops... that was actually Ashley (I'm logged in on Aron's computer). Hi!

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Hey Ashley! Awesome to hear from you. I owe your blog a visit BIG TIME.

The bars are bonkers. I'll get the recipe for you. I just made these caramels and drizzled some chocolate on top. Uhhhhhhhhhh....