Salted Caramels Don’t Have to Come from the Sweet Shop

A delicious sweet treat, salted caramels are easier to make than you think!  Who doesn’t like a taste of something sweet, especially during the holidays?  

Salted caramels for Christmas

Salted caramels for Christmas

Besides longing for sweet treats, I had another motivation.  Every year of age seems to add to the challenge of maintaining a healthy weight, and I have found that a small taste of something sweet–like a chocolate truffle or a small salted caramel, can help stem a bigger attack of munchies.  So with the current popularity of salted caramels (the New York Times gives some insight into their rise), I decided to give homemade a try. 

Homemade Salted Caramels

Homemade Salted Caramels

Combining two recipes off the internet (from Ina Garten and Land o’ Lakes), the results were perfect, the second time.  After making the first batch I learned my candy thermometer was inaccurate (see my advice on testing your thermometer in my homemade toffee post) and my “soft” caramels came out more like Werther’s Hard Candy.  For the second attempt I used the cold water test–dribble a bit of hot syrup into cold water, swish it into a ball and see if it is the squishy/firm consistency that I like my caramel.  The beauty of the coldwater test (versus a thermometer) is that everyone likes their caramel a little different..  By testing in water, you don’t need to take Ina’s word that 248  is just right or go with Land o’ Lakes 244 F.  You can do it to your personal taste.  Worked like a charm!

 

Salted caramels on plate

Salted caramels, served

I took the successful batch of caramels with toffee and sugared nuts to our extended family Christmas–and happily the few leftovers were quickly appropriated by another party-goer.  Now that’s the way to stay thin!

Here is an overview:

Cook the ingredients until they form a firm but smash-able ball (approx. firm ball stage, or 244-248 F) when a spoonful is dropped in cold water.  Add vanilla.

boil sugar mixture

Salted caramels, just to a boil

 

keep boiling

Turning golden… almost done…

Pour into parchment lined rectangular pan and cool.

pour into pan

Salted caramel in pan

 Pull parchment out and cut into two long pieces. 

Cut salted caramel in half

Cut in half

 Fold over and push together.

Fold salted caramel over to shape

Fold salted caramel over to shape

 Salt.

Top salted caramels with salt (fleur de sel)

Top with salt (fleur de sel)

citrus fleur de sel

Love the golden flecks in this citrus fleur de sel

Cut to size (I like to cut some large, some small).

cutting salted caramels

Cut to size

 

Cut salted caramels

Some big, some small – for every appetite!

More Classic Candy Recipes

Salted Caramels

Salted Caramels

Yield: 32
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A delicious sweet treat, salted caramels are easier to make than you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup, see note for alternative
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Line a 6 x 8 or 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment; set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients except vanilla in heavy 4-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15-20 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Continue cooking without stirring, 25-30 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 244°F (or to 248°F for a slightly firmer caramel) or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a firm ball.
  4. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool.
  5. When the caramel is cool, lift the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut the square in half.
  6. Starting with a long side, fold the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log.
  7. Sprinkle the log with fleur de sel, trim the ends and cut into pieces. Try brushing the knife with flavorless oil or spraying with non-stick spray if you are having problems with sticking.
  8. Wrap the candies individually and store in the refrigerator. Take out to warm before serving.

Notes

The calorie count is based on smaller (cut into 32) pieces of caramel.
An alternative to the corn syrup is to use 1/4 cup maple syrup plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice. (This version was delicious for a couple days, but those I had hidden away crystalized by a week)

Adapted from Ina Garten & Land o' Lakes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 32
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 102mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g

Nutrition data accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.

 

18 thoughts on “Salted Caramels Don’t Have to Come from the Sweet Shop

  1. Tracy

    Would these not be good for a gift? Just asking because I saw store in fridge and warm before serving. I wanted to give try to make them and give as gifts.

    1. Inger Post author

      I would give them as gifts! I think they just keep better in the refrigerator–they can lose their shape a bit if they get too warm.

  2. Claire

    Salted Caramels are an old favourite of mine and I’m so pleased to see them back in the shops. I have to thank you for the tip about testing the caramel in the cold water, that’s such a simple solution. and for your next challenge – coat them in dark chocolate 🙂 just sayin !!!

  3. grace

    i’d definitely be willing to break out my candy thermometer for these. so tasty–salted caramel is near the top of my list of favorite flavors of all. happy holidays! 🙂

    1. Inger Post author

      I think you had better get yourself some salted caramel then, Lisa! Hope your neck is doing better…

  4. Louise

    Salted Caramels DO have to come from the sweet shop in my neck of the woods, Inger. There is no way in the world that I would even attempt such a feat! You did wonderfully!!! Of course you could send me just one for testing, lol…Oh right, they are all gone:(

    Thanks for sharing, Inger…Congrats on taking the plunge and succeeding!

    P.S. I think I may have found my newest Cranberry Sauce Recipe. I posted it on Pinterest. It’s called Gin and Cranberry Sauced, lol…let me know if you want the link:)

    1. Inger Post author

      Oh I would be excited to get that link Louise! It would fit in perfectly with my recent fixation on “boozy fruit”

      1. Inger Post author

        Well I found your pin Louise and it looks great. Then I saw the Spiced Cranberry Margarita and that blew me away. So many cranberry drinks, so little time…

    1. Inger Post author

      Thanks Beth. I understand the intimidation. It took me years to try it but I’m glad I finally did!

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