Chocolate Dipped Salted Caramels, just in time for Valentines day!
I made these last year for Christmas and while they tasted good, there was a chance biting into them too soon (not letting them melt in your mouth some) would result in a lost tooth. I was determined to do better this year. I think my problem was letting the caramel get too hot and cross over too far into the 'hard ball' stage of candy. Caramels should come off the heat somewhere in between the 'soft-ball' and the 'hard-ball' temperatures. (A candy thermometer is key.) The ideal texture holds its shape in your hand but doesn't require any type of dental procedure, that is you can easily bite through the caramel. Luckily, I was more successful this time around, but even a slightly messed up caramel gets eaten.
Sea Salt Caramels, From Tater Tots & Jello
1 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1/3 Cup Honey
6 Tbsp Butter, Cut into Tbsps
1 tsp Vanilla
3 tsp Sea Salt
1 bag 70% Cacao Chocolate Chips
Prepare an 8-inch baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. (The cooking spray is very important, even with it I had to cut away some pieces of Aluminum from my Caramels.)
Place the cream in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Stir in the sugar, corn syrup and honey and stir until it begins to boil. Periodically scrape down the saucepan with a spatula (prevent sugar crystals from forming).
Cook the candy, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 255-257 degrees (don't let it go passed 257, see story above to avoid broken teeth) on a candy thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat immediately and stir in the butter, vanilla, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Pour into prepared pan and place it in the refrigerator until firm enough to cut.
Cut the caramel into small 3/4" squares with a chef’s knife. (Or enlist your taller, stronger 'little' brother to do this step for you. OR stand on a stepping stool and push will all you might, this stuff is sticky, it liked to cling desparately to my knife.)
After cutting the caramels place them in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. The colder they are the easier they are to dip in the chocolate. (Otherwise they like to melt into a puddle of delicious flat caramel goo)
Set aside a small dish with about 1 TBS of sea salt to sprinkle on the caramels while they are cooling.
Temper the chocolate and dip the caramels in the chocolate one at a time.
Place them on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper or foil to set. While chocolate is slightly set but still wet, sprinkle on the remaining salt and allow to set completely. Store them in the fridge for easy access and watch them disappear!
con·fec·tion (kən-fĕk′shən) n.
A sweet preparation, such as candy.