Salted butter caramels
16th December 2010

Salted butter caramels

By Emma Photography by Emma
 

I love the intangible feeling of Christmas – that big, warm, swelling feeling that rises up inside you.  The closer we draw to Christmas (9 days and counting) the more palpable this feeling becomes.  It’s in the shop windows, it’s in the Christmas trees – strung with lights that twinkle in darkened lounge windows and it’s in the Christmas carols that float on the sticky, humid summer air. I go out of my way to soak it all in.  I have taken my place in the queue that forms in Franklin Rd; it inches slowly past houses curtained in Christmas lights, past front yards filled with gold and silver baubles, past Christmas stockings strung from porches and angels hanging from rooftops.

This year, more so than any other year, I have been inspired to bake; I think it is my way of spreading the Christmas cheer.  So in the midst of all the Christmas madness I find calm in my kitchen.  I retreat, apron around my waist, whisk at the ready and I bake.  Although not baked per se, I took immense pleasure from making these salted butter caramels.  Dipped in dark chocolate and topped with wee salt crystals they make the perfect gift, so if you find yourself with a few spare hours before Christmas I suggest you give these a go.

Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

Makes around 80 caramels
  • --
  • 180ml cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt, rounded
  • ½ cup golden syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 60g butter
  • 300g dark chocolate
  • Sea salt crystals

Method

  • --
  • 1. Line a square tin with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
  • 2. Heat the cream, half the butter, vanilla and the salt until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm while you cook the syrup (I just left the saucepan on the cooktop).
  • 3. In another saucepan place the golden syrup and sugar and cook slowly, stirring gently, until the sugar melts. Continue to cook this until the syrup reaches 155°C on a candy thermometer.
  • 4. Turn off the heat and carefully add the cream mixture, stirring until smooth and well combined.
  • 5. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 127°C. At this point I would like to point out that my caramel mixture never reached this temperature and I must have cooked it for an hour or longer. In the end I keep an eye on the consistency of the boiling mixture and cooked it until it reached softball stage (fill a glass with cold water and when a drop of the caramel is added to the glass a wee soft ball should form). At this point remove the saucepan from the heat, add the remaining butter and stir until smooth.
  • 6. Pour the mixture into the greased tin and leave to cool. Once cool cut into even pieces (I used a guide to make sure I achieved consistently sized caramels).
  • 7. Melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie until smooth. Dip chocolates one-by-one into the chocolate and sprinkle the top of each one with a crystal or two of salt.
       

      COMMENTS

      1. You’re caramel is so beautiful, and sounds delicious! After a couple of failed attempts, I’ve finally been able to make caramel that tastes good, but it still is a little on the ‘homely’ side. The salt crystals on top are a gorgeous touch!

      2. These look so tasty! I’m really excited to try your recipe.

      3. Emma

        Hi Caroline!
        I am happy you like the look of our caramels! They certainly were a labour of love but WELL worth the effort! Everyone loved them!
        Merry Christmas!
        Emma

      4. Emma

        Hi Katrina!
        Thanks for your comment – let us know when you try them and how they work out for you.
        Merry Christmas!
        Emma

      5. ulla

        Hi Emma,
        Sitting here in snowy Swedens country side and reading the traditional recepy’s extra touch of salt I’m in for it now !!! These caramels are called ‘knaeck” and are an essential part of the traditional swedish Julbord (christmas table) and prepared in tiny tinfoil cups. For a variation sometimes nuts are added. But chocolate and salt….mmh

      6. Emma

        Hi Ulla,
        I wish I could be there to spend a White Christmas with you all! It is interesting to learn that the caramels are a a traditional Swedish treat! The salt goes so well with the creamy caramel and the dark chocolate!
        Merry Christmas to all!
        Emma

      7. margaret

        I am new to your site but LOVE the look of these caramels. What is golden syrup? I’ve seen it in a few of your other recipes but am not familiar. . . .

      8. Emma

        Hi Margaret,
        I am glad you like our site! Golden syrup is pale treacle, a byproduct of the process of refining cane sugar juice into sugar. It is not as dark or as strong as treacle or molasses.
        I hope this helps!
        Happy cooking!
        Emma

      9. Michelle

        This looks incredible! I’m just wondering how long I can keep these before they go bad…

      10. Nanna

        Looks delicious! I’m going to make these next week but I was wondering how big (approximately) your square tin was? I don’t want to use something that’s too big and risk making them way too thin…

      11. Emma

        Hi Michelle,
        The caramels are best stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place. They should last like any other chocolate this way…….though they are so good it is unlikely anyone will be able to resist temptation!!
        Are you planning on doing them for Christmas presents?
        Happy cooking and let us know how you go!
        Emma

      12. Emma

        Hi Nanna,

        The tin was approximately 25 x 25cm. A good way of checking that the caramels are neither too thick nor too thin is by pouring the caramel into the tin and then touching the end of a wooden spoon to the base. This way you will be left with a level on the handle indicating how thick they are. I have been experimenting with flavouring my caramels. I’ve added coconut extract and plum powder and both were delicious. There are lots of things you can do with them. Let me know how you go!
        Happy cooking!
        Emma

      13. Adri

        Beautiful! I love the addition of golden syrup – it has such a nice depth of flavor compared to light corn syrup. I adore caramels.

      14. Emma

        Hi Adri,
        Thanks for stopping by and leaving a message. Aren’t caramels just beautiful – especially ones with the addition of salt and golden syrup! =)
        Happy Christmas!
        Emma

      15. Tara

        Hello there, could you tell me if it’s single cream you use? Im hoping to make some of these for a Christmas hamper, they look delicious! Merry Christmas x

      16. Emma

        Hi Tara,
        Thanks for your message. I did indeed use single cream for the caramels. Let me know what you think of them once you’ve made them – I would love to hear.
        Merry Christmas to you too!
        Emma

       

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