Caramels with Mediterranean Sea Salt

I had meant to post this recipe before Christmas - but everyone knows what happens to things one means to do before Christmas. At least I always have a pile of ideas that I never get to in time. When the post didn't happen, I thought 'no worries, just do it next December' but then Jonathon relayed the info that his friend Allie wanted the recipe (I am guessing he shared some of what I sent home with him at Christmas time) and I decided that it made all kinds of very good sense to share the recipe as a Valentine's Day treat. For some people it isn't a real treat unless it involves chocolate - others (myself) prefer something caramel-y and salted. So if you know someone like that try a batch of these to say "I love you more than the whole world!"

Caramels with Mediterranean Sea Salt

1 cup unsalted cultured butter*
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 cup corn syrup
1 15 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add sugar and salt; stir thoroughly. Add corn syrup and milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until just past firm ball stage (245 degrees) or about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour into buttered 9x13" pan. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt (like Maldon's) to taste. I was pretty liberal with the sprinkling - but I love salt! Cool completely, cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper.

*good butter makes a huge difference here. Don't cheat yourself and buy any old butter - or worse, use margarine. Just don't.

Note: for an accurate reading on your candy thermometer, boil a pan of water noting at what temperature the water boils. All recipes assume that water boils at 212  degrees F but of course, that assumes we all live at sea level. If you want a happy outcome when making candy, do the check and then adjust your recipe. For example if water boils at 202 degrees and the recipe says to cook to 245 degrees, subtract 10 and cook to 235 degrees. (Clear as mud right?) You can also check the candy hardness by dropping a bit of hot candy into a glass of very cold water. This caramel should be very firm not hard. Good luck and have fun. It isn't hard and is always going to be delicious. It is, after all, salted and caramel!

Sorry the recipe is a week late Allie - this really was my first opportunity. I was too busy taking a holiday.


Eden Lang said...

these are so great!!!! we all love them. and this year they were AMAZING:)
thanks mom.
love ya.

p.s. love the pic of them all cut up. they look so yummm.

Nancy said...

I'm so happy you took a holiday!! where did you go?? And I absolutely love caramel more than chocolate, can't wait to try these!!

muggins said...

If you don't mind me asking, which brand of butter do you buy in Alberta? These look delicious!

Cheri said...

muggins - sorry to be so late with a reply. The butter that I prefer to use for baking (currently) is President's Choice unsalted cultured butter from Superstore. I had some butter from France (I know!) and really thought that the PC stuff was equal to it.

Cindy Stibbard said...

Cheri, this recipe is absolutely delectable, not to mention practically fool-proof! Even a very amateur candy maker like myself was delightfully successful the first time! Thank you for the inspiration and for sharing your sweetness :-)

Allie said...

i'm revisiting this recipe for the first time since you posted it and only now noticed your lovely little note to me at the bottom!! i feel so special!! only 2 years late, right? thanks so much cheri!! planning on making these soon to get into the autumn season. and then probably again for winter. ;)