Let me tell you a little secret – I was never a big fan of caramels. I ate a bar of snickers once and it gave me an allergy (because of the peanuts but still!) and every time I ate a caramel chocolate from a box, the texture never felt right to me. I even tried a caramel frappe and (not that my sugar threshold isn’t abnormally high) but it felt sweet. So why am I dedicating this post to the very thing that I wasn’t a big fan of? Because one of the perks of food blogging is the fact you get to change your mind by trying out different things! One of the other perks of food blogging is constantly vying some fancy equipment or the other and then, upon attaining it, constantly thinking of ways to use it. It’s a vicious circle but one that I’m rather enjoying. Equipment in point being my brand spankin’ new candy thermometer! These caramels mark an era of change for me – I never liked caramels up until these (and this) and I never thought I needed a candy thermometer! I figured I never liked working too much with candy and sugar work so why would I need it? Yea. Silly me.
A candy thermometer is an absolutely handy tool for every sugar crazy person! Not only is it useful to have lying around in case of making perfect caramel etc but its also handy to have when measuring the correct temperature for yeast while bread making, measuring milk temperature for making Greek yoghurt and just for simply eliminating guesswork out of what can otherwise be very painstaking work! Its amazing how some simple equipment can inspire you to create more stuff!
The candy making process itself is very simple provided you have a candy thermometer at hand. I took lots of pictures for you but the heat did not permit me to take as many as I’d like. The key here is to be patient and I find that color is always a good indicator of how the caramel turns out. Oh, and use a wooden spoon. Always.
Salted Vanilla Caramels
Yields: about 24 caramels
Source: Annie’s Eats
1 cup heavy cream
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise and scraped (I didn’t have one on hand so just doubled the vanilla extract)
1¼ tsp. fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
|Line a non-stick baking tin with parchment paper. You could grease the paper too if you like (I didn’t).|
|Keep your ingredients ready in a place that you can easily reach for them.|
|Add the heavy cream, butter, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, pod (if using) and salt flakes to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat.|
|Once it comes together, pour into a heat-proof measuring jug and set aside.|
|In the same saucepan, add the sugar and 1/4th cup of water|
|Add 1/4th cup corn syrup and heat over medium-high heat without stirring. Swirl the pan around once in a while to distribute the sugar evenly but very gently.|
|Continue to heat. Be patient!|
|Let it come to boil and refrain from stirring!|
|When the sugar changes color, you’re on the right track!|
|Meanwhile, in an other heavy bottomed saucepan, clip on your candy thermometer because most of them require you to bring the liquid up to the required temperature versus just dunking it in.|
|Now that the caramel has reached this color, pour into the saucepan with the candy thermometer.|
|Make sure the candy thermometer is clipped on properly. Turn on the flame, making sure its medium-high heat.