Soft, chewy and full of buttery goodness, these homemade salted butter caramels are an unexpected cookie-swap alternative and are a snap to whip up.
When I was a kid, the only caramels I knew of were those hard-as-a-rock Halloween candies that threatened to remove fillings and practically broke your teeth. That all changed when I discovered the salted caramels from a chic little bakery in Toronto’s east end. These were not the candies of my youth. No, these were soft and buttery and had the slightest dusting of flaky salt that catapulted them into a new, much more grown-up stratosphere. In an instant, I was converted and never looked back.
This holiday season, give your oven a rest and shake up your cookie swap by taking a crack at these homemade salted butter caramels instead.
(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
? cup heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Fleur de sel or flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1. Coat 8×8″ baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper leaving a 2” overhang on all sides.
2. In a small saucepan, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into the cream and then add the pod. Heat until cream starts to steam, remove from heat and discard vanilla pod.
3. In another small saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil, swirling pan occasionally (don’t stir) and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush, for about 5 minutes or until mixture turns a deep shade of amber. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla cream and a pinch of fleur de sel. Return to medium heat and cook, swirling until caramel is smooth, about 1 minute.
4. Remove caramel from heat and a little at a time, whisk in butter. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and let cool 4 hours or overnight.
5. Use the parchment paper to lift caramels from the pan; cut into small, 1/2” pieces and sprinkle with fleur de sel.