These caramels are another new test recipe for Christmas platters. I knew they would turn out well because they’re Ina Garten’s recipe and every recipe of hers I’ve tried has been a success.
A couple of years ago I tried another caramel recipe and although it came out pretty well, it was so slippery and buttery that they were hard to handle and left quite the butter trail behind. These Creamy Soft Homemade Caramels came out perfectly! Soft and buttery without being greasy, and so, so very creamy.
A note on making caramels and candy in general. If you’ve made candy before, you already know this – always use a candy thermometer and never turn your back on the candy while it’s cooking! It can go from a friendly little transparent boil to a frighteningly dark burn in an instant. Also, don’t stir the sugar/syrup mixture while it’s boiling or it will be grainy. Swirl it around gently if you really feel you need to.
All-in-all this recipe was step-by-step easy to follow with terrific instructions. Ina Garten calls hers “Fleur del Sel Caramels” and she sprinkles salt lightly on the finished caramels, but I used salted butter and found that topping them with a sprinkle of salt made them too salty for us.
I enjoyed the candy-making process on these caramels and this recipe will be my go-to from now on. Don’t forget to keep them refrigerated. They are very soft and will spread at room temperature. I could see these dipped in a coating of chocolate. Oh, yeah!
****Outstanding. Very soft and creamy - such a smooth texture. They're unbelievably good. Adapted very slightly from Ina Garten. Read through the instructions carefully as well as my tips at the end of the recipe.
- vegetable oil
- 1/4 C water
- 1 1/2 C sugar
- 1/4 C light corn syrup
- 1 C heavy cream
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 scant tsp fine fleur del sel, (I used kosher salt)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Prepare wrapping papers by cutting 4x4" pieces of waxed paper (about 36 pieces). Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides (for lifting out), and very lightly brush the paper with the oil.
In a deep saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat (don't stir after the initial combining of ingredients). Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Remove from heat immediately.
While the sugar/syrup mixture is cooking, in a small pot bring the cream, butter and 1 tsp of salt to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
When the sugar/syrup mixture is finished and removed from heat, slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar/syrup pan. Be very careful! It will bubble up violently and is very hot! Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and return the pan to medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until a candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.
Very carefully pour the very hot mixture into the prepared pan and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Move the pan to the refrigerator and let it firm up for 3-4 hours.
When the caramel is cold and firm, lift the parchment paper out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut the caramel into 6 by 6 rows. Take one piece of the caramel and place it on one edge of one of the waxed paper pieces. Gently, but firmly roll up the caramel and twist the ends to seal. Keep refrigerated and serve the caramels chilled.
Tips and Stuff:
Don't use table salt for these - it will make them way too salty. Fleur de Sel and kosher salt are pretty much interchangeable.k
When you see the boiling sugar mixture start to lightly brown, watch carefully and take the pan off the heat almost immediately unless you like a more burnt caramel taste.
For the cream and butter mixture, let it just come to a simmer and then remove from the heat. You can stir this mixture, just not the boiling sugar mixture.
If you're using salted butter (as I did), taste one of the caramels with a sprinkle of salt on top and see if it's too salty. I thought it was, so left the finishing salt off.
The very easiest way to cut the caramels is with a sharp pizza cutter.
You can make these disk shaped or log shaped - whatever floats your boat.
These are very soft and creamy, so if you're looking for a firm caramel, this isn't it.