Caramels with Fleur de Sel, Grey Salt or Pink Salt
Homemade caramels make a delicious vehicle for pure salt in any form – flaky fleur de sel, grey sea salt or pink Himalayan salt work well. Or leave them plain if you’re a caramel purist. Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich.
1 c. Roger’s or Lyle’s golden syrup
2 c. sugar
1/2 t. fine sea salt
2 c. whipping cream
2 T. butter
1 t. pure vanilla extract
fleur de sel, grey salt or any fancy salt of your choice
Line the bottom and sides of a 9"x 9" baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease the foil. Combine the syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash any sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water.
Cover the mixture and cook it for about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more if necessary. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook the mixture, uncovered, without stirring, until it reaches 305°F on a candy thermometer.
Meanwhile, bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat and set aside.
When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F, turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and set the heat so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally at the beginning and more frequently at the end, until the mixture reaches 260°F for soft chewy caramels or 265°F for firmer chewy caramels.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let it set for an hour or so, until slightly firm but still tacky. Sprinkle the surface lightly with flaky salt, pressing it in gently to help it adhere, if you need to. Leave the caramel sit for another 3 to 4 hours, or until firm.
Invert the sheet of caramel onto a dry cutting board or sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the foil and, if you like, sprinkle the other side with more salt. Cut the caramels with a large, sharp knife into however many you want. Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane. If they last long enough, store the caramels in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.