It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Every Valentine’s Day, my better half surprises me with a three-layer red velvet cake from my favorite American-style bakery. It’s a surprise because every year I forget it’s coming.
This year, he wants to change things up a bit, “Forget about the cake,” he shrugs. “Let’s go for a meal instead.” But I can’t celebrate a man-made holiday without a touch of sweetness -- and how sweet do chocolate-coated caramels made with lavender-infused sugar sound?
The mellow, fragrant, and downright doting inclusion of lavender runs through the buttery center of each of these caramels. At first bite, it’s enough to melt even the toughest of hearts.
We’re all too familiar with eating lavender-scented desserts and feeling like we’re drinking perfume. To keep the intrusion of bathroom scents at bay, this recipe uses lavender-scented sugar, which tones down the bold herbal flavors so that they mix perfectly with the chocolate and caramel.
Wrap these candies in parchment and sneak one every afternoon until they’re gone, or serve them up on a little plate for your nearest and dearest. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Makes 28 one-inch caramels
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons full-fat milk
1 cup lavender sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 cup dark chocolate, melted
Dried lavender, for garnish
Line and butter a 6 x 6-inch square baking and set aside. Sift the lavender sugar into a saucepan using a large mesh sieve or fine colander. Don't worry if some of the lavender falls through.
Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Add cream, milk, brown sugar, salt, butter, syrup, and water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Whisk constantly so that the mixture doesn't burn, until the caramel reaches 246° F, just above the soft ball stage. This should take about 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and pour into the lined dish. Tap the pan to help smooth the top, set aside to cool for 15 minutes, and then place in the fridge for 1 hour.
Immerse the heart cutter (or any other cookie cutter) in boiling water to make cutting easier, then stamp out the caramels.
Place melted chocolate in a glass and drop the caramels in the chocolate to coat.
Gently pick up the caramels with a fork, sprinkle with lavender, and place on parchment to cool.
Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.
Photos by Emine Hassan