Every year around the holidays, our home becomes candy central. We make truffles, chocolate bars, dipped fruits, peppermint bark and more -- all of which gets sent off to our friends and family. By far the most popular item we make is the chocolate-covered salted caramels which we make with local honey. The honey imparts an amazing floral flavor that you’ll never get with the corn syrup variety of caramels. With this recipe, ingredient quality is especially important. The honey, of course, has to be very flavorful, but the butter, cream and chocolate all have equal starring roles, too. Even the sea salt gets a chance to shine! —vrunka
- Makes 48-60 caramels
salted butter, cut in cubes
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, add sugar and honey and stir to combine. Set on the stove on medium heat and warm slowly until the sugar and honey have melted and have turned a deep golden brown. Stir as minimally as possibly.
- In a separate, small sauce pan, bring the cream to a simmer.
- Once all the sugar in the large pot is melted and you have a nice rich, golden brown, start whisking in cubes of butter, one at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in the cream and stir until smooth.
- Continue to heat the mixture to 265 degrees. The temperature creeps up very, very slowly in the beginning and then starts moving faster the hotter it gets so be sure to watch it extra carefully once the temperature gets above, say, 240-250 degrees.
- While the mixture is heating, prepare a 11x7 cake pan. Line it with parchment paper, making sure that the sides are covered. Try to make the corners as crisp as possible so you won’t lose any caramel in the folds.
- Once the caramel mixture reaches 265 degrees, immediately pour all of the contents into the pan. Use a spatula to get the last remnants out of the pot. Allow to cool for at least a couple hours. Then turn the block of caramel out on a cutting board, remove the paper and cut into squares.
- Melt the chocolate for the covering. If you want perfect-looking, shiny chocolates, you may want to temper your chocolate. Excellent instructions on how to do so are here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/08/tempering-choco/ But, trust me, these treats still taste wonderful even if your chocolate is dull. The easiest way to melt chocolate is to place it in a large (preferably glass) bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time, until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Dip the caramels in the chocolate and set on wax paper to cool. While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle a few grains of sea salt over the top.