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:
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.
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!