February 12, 2009

Smoked Salt and Honey Caramels

This recipe is adjusted for altitude. It is a corn syrup- 
and walnut-free variation on Alice Medrich's Honey Caramels.

Heat (without stirring) to 290°F in a 3 qt. pot:
1/4 c. agave syrup
1/2 c. honey
2 c. granulated sugar (I highly recommend using brown sugar for more complex flavor)
1/4 t. salt

While the syrup is heating, scald:
2 c. heavy cream (want really complex flavor? add a chile pepper here) 

When the syrup reaches hardball*, chip in:
3 T. butter, r.t.

Combine all off-heat, adding the hot cream slowly (don't let the pepper fall in). Return to heat and cook – stirring as necessary – 'til 240°F (±2° is fine but 245° will yield firm caramels).

Off-heat, add 1 T. vanilla and pour into a prepared 8x8" pan. Sprinkle with large granules of Smoked Salt (King Soopers at Arapahoe Crossing has a good selection) before the caramel sets. Fleur de sel works just as nicely. Let cool until firm (few hours or overnight) before lifting from the pan and cutting into bite-sized pieces. Yields 5-6 dozen.

*NOTE: this is a critical stage, so go by the physical characteristics of hardball, not some temperature definition you saw in a cookbook or what's printed on your thermometer. Those weren't written for altitude; this one is. If you're not cooking at altitude, refer to the original recipe for temperature guidance.

COMFORTABLE WITH TEMPERING CHOCOLATE? Dip and coat the cut caramels with tempered dark chocolate before sprinkling with salt. Or bacon.


Adelina Priddis said...

oh I am so glad you joined us at Foodie Friday!!
I love caramel, and have been wanting to attempt it on my own. This looks like a pretty simple to follow recipe.

HB said...

Foodie Friday was fun, @Adelina Priddis! If you are making these and are not at altitude, be sure to bring the syrup to ±305°F or the caramels may be soft.

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