Sometimes you need a treat. Maybe the dog down the street won’t stop barking. Or your toddler’s refusal to take a much-needed nap is stressing your very. last. nerve. Or maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed and YOU NEED A TREAT, gosh darnit!
If this sounds like me, er, I mean, if this sounds like you, then look no further for said treat. Homemade caramels couldn’t be easier to make! And while you wait for the candy to cook to that exacting 252-degrees Fahrenheit, take a minute to just breathe deeply (the intoxicatingly yummy smell of caramel!), and let “it” go. (Whatever you do, do not start humming the Frozen soundtrack!) If that doesn’t work, eat a few of these babies once they’ve cooled, and I promise you won’t be concerned with anything except how you must make more. As soon as you possibly can.
Salted Nutty Caramel Caramels
adapted (just barely) from smittenkitchen.com
2 teaspoons flaky sea salt, or less of a finer one
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
Neutral oil for the knife
- First, prep all of your ingredients in advance; you won’t have time to spare once the candy is cooking. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment. Set it aside.
- Pour your brewed, hot coffee into a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and stir in the butter, sugars, and heavy cream. Put the pot over medium-high heat with a candy thermometer attached to the side, and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil until the thermometer reads 252 degrees, only about 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it.
- (Don’t have a candy thermometer? Have a bowl of very cold water ready, and cook the caramel until a tiny spoonful dropped into the water becomes firm, chewy, and able to be plied into a ball.)
- Immediately remove caramel from heat, add the salt, and give the caramel several stirs to distribute it evenly. Pour caramel into the prepared pan. Let it sit until cool and firm—about 2 hours, though it goes faster in the fridge. Once caramel is firm, use your parchment paper sling to transfer the block to a cutting board. Use a well-oiled knife, oiling it after each cut (don’t skip this part!), to cut the caramel into 1-by-1-inch squares. Wrap each one in a 4-inch square of waxed paper, twisting the sides to close. Caramels will be somewhat on the soft side at room temperature, firmer from the fridge.
- Caramels keep in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks, but who are we kidding. You’ll be tempted to eat them all in one sitting.
Time to devour 🙂