My dear friend Elise is my first ‘guest-blogger’ here by sharing her AMAZING fleur de sel caramel recipe with all of us. Her basic recipe for the caramel is taken from the Miette Cookbook, but she loves to play around with a variety of spice variations and I nearly died and went to heaven when I tried her cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla variation! You can definitely choose to follow the Miette recipe to the T and not add any spices, but I HIGHLY recommend testing out some of her variations!
So here is her recipe – don’t just drool at the pictures, try it out!! It is a but labor intensive since you have to watch the caramel carefully, but the end result is SO worth it! It makes a great gift too 🙂
Oh, and just to make you a little more jealous – her fleur de sel caramels are not a hard caramel nor a soft one – they are the PERFECT, heavenly texture right in between – chewy but soft….mmmmm…..
Yields: 64 1-inch square caramels
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 ¼ cup whole milk
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (8 ounces) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
¼ cup Fleur de sel for sprinkling
Optional: freshly ground cardamom seeds, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract, as desired
1. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-in square baking dish. Line the bottom with parchment paper that extends over the sides of the dish (which can be used as handles later, if needed). [Note: wax paper will not work as a substitute here…]
[If you want to make spiced caramels, follow this step. Otherwise, proceed to step 3]
2. If you are using whole spices, grind them coarsely with a mortar and pestle. Add them with the cream, milk, salt, butter, and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until the butter melts and the cream and milk begins to simmer. Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let sit so that the spices infuse in the milk.
Note on spices: I love the variation with cardamom, cinnamon, and vanilla, but you can also use nutmeg, cloves, star anise, green tea, verbena, or rose essence.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated and brown sugar and corn syrup. Pour the milk and cream mixture through a strainer to add to the sugar mixture (or add the ingredients from step 2 minus the spices if step 2 was skipped). Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook at medium-low heat, whisking constantly (45 to 60 minutes) until the mixture reaches 246 degrees F. (If you go higher than 246 degrees F you will end up with a hard caramel!)
4. When the caramel reaches the correct temperature, remove it from the heat and pour into the buttered pan, scraping out any caramel clinging to the sides of the saucepan. Be careful because the caramel is very hot! Let cool for 15 minutes and sprinkle with fleur de sel, then let cool completely to room temperature. Wrap the baking dish in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1.5 hours to make cutting the caramels easier.
Note: Another great variation on this recipe is to use lavendar salt instead of the fleur de sel
5. To remove the caramel from the pan, run a knife around the edges and lift the caramel out by the parchment paper “handles”. If it resists, warm the bottom of the pan briefly over a stove burner. Turn the caramel out onto waxed paper on a cutting board. Cut the caramel into 1-inch squares, and wrap each piece in a square of waxed paper, twisting both ends…et voila!
Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days…although they never last that long anyway 😉