These caramels were adapted from the infallable Dan Lepard in his book Short and Sweet; a book which will become your bible if you're a baker.
Lemon cuts through the richness of the caramel, thyme lends perfume, and the macadamias add luxury. Perfect to pop in your handbag in case of emergency or to give as gifts.
These little caramels can be jazzed up any way you like - after you’ve made the initial caramel, you can substitute the caster sugar for muscavado, the butter for olive oil, the honey for maple syrup, or anything else you fancy. Once the cooking is done, stir in any flavouring you like, or just keep it simple and plain, if that’s your bag. You can make them in a large tin and cut them into squares, or in mini-muffin tins as I did. —BurntCream
white caster sugar
unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing the tin
Before you start, have everything ready and close to hand.
Put the first 150g batch of sugar and the water in a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat and stir to combine. Now put your spoon down, it’s very important not to stir the mixture now as it will crystallise if you do, a gentle swirl is all you need.
Your sugar mixture will start to look like a white syrup, then a clear syrup which will start to bubble vigorously. After some minutes it will start to turn to a light golden colour, swirl gently to ensure it’s cooking evenly, and keep a close watch on it.
When it gets to about the same colour as a new penny, take it off the heat and, keeping your face at a safe distance, add the butter. It will bubble up like crazy, and now you can stir again. Add the remaining sugar, honey, salt and cream and stir to mix together. Return to the heat and here’s where your sugar thermometer comes into play - if you can, clip it to the side of the pan. Heat the caramel to 125C (this will give you a chewy caramel, for a sauce just go to 113C and for a hard caramel go up to 130C.
As soon as you get to temperature, remove from the heat and give it a minute for the bubbles to die down before you add the nuts, thyme leaves and zest.
Pour into your lightly buttered tin or moulds whilst still hot and then leave until completely cool at which point you can turn the caramel out and cut into pieces if you’ve made a large block. It’s best to wrap each one in a bit of baking parchment or cellophane to stop them sticking together.