There are chocolate caramels and then there are chocolate caramels. These are the latter. Deep and richly chocolate with the loveliness of a sprinkle of Malden salt. Eye-rolling, deep-sighing, mouthfuls of goodness. You. must. try.
That's all I will say. All I can say.
salted deep chocolate caramels
(from Gourmet December 2006)
2 cups heavy cream
10.5 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
flaky sea salt** - I used Malden's
Line the bottom and sides of a 9X13-inch metal baking pan with two long strips of crisscrossed parchment paper.
Bring cream just to a boil in a 1 qt saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to scorch, then reduce heat to low and add the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring sugar, syrup, water and salt to a boil in a 5 or 6 quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring (but swirling pan every minute or so) until sugar is deeply golden - about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and pour in the chocolate mixture ( this will bubble and steam a bit alarmingly). Continue to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 255 F on a candy thermometer*. This may take about 15 minutes - I always stay very close to the boiling pan, usually reading a book or magazine to while away the tedium because this does get tedious. I also stir more or less constantly but you can gamble with burning if you choose. Remove from heat, add butter and stir until the butter is completely melted and fully incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and DON'T scrape any caramel clinging to the sides or bottom of the pan. Let the caramel stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Cool completely in pan then carefully lift the caramel out of the pan with the aid of the parchment. Use a large heavy knife to cut into strips and then into squares. Wrap in 4" squares of cellophane or waxed paper.
*Check the info on using a candy thermometer in yesterday's post.
**Two notes here: I am a salt-lover. That should perhaps all be written in caps. Anyway, I sprinkled the salt quite generously. It was good. Second note, I think it is the salt that really makes these caramels extra special. The chocolate is
amplified, underlined, just somehow better because of it.