KAW: salted caramels

annkathrynDecember 7, 2013

I'm enjoying all of the kitchen at work threads so thought I'd post one of my own.

I've been making caramels every holiday season for many many years. Chocolate and vanilla. Last year I finally caught up to the salted craze and now I'm making Fleur de Sel Caramels exclusively. This afternoon I cooked up 3 batches and wrapped 2 of them. I love my induction cooktop and hood - I can easily regulate the temperature, and the caramels generate a lot of steam.

Ingredients. The Fleur de Sel is French sea salt, very expensive, but only takes a little per batch. From caramels

Trusty thermometer, cream and butter waiting for the sugar and syrup to rise to 320F. From caramels

While I cook, I cut squares of wax paper for wrapping. The cellophane bags are for orders I sell. I use paper gift bags for friends. From caramels

After the butter and cream is added, I cook to 245F. From caramels

First batch poured into pan lined with Parchment paper. From caramels

I let it cool just a little then sprinkle the salt over so that it sinks into the caramels. From caramels

Second batch on the way. From caramels

Next batch, divided into 2 bread pans. From caramels

Cutting the first batch. From caramels

Wrapping caramels. The metal bowl is for 'rejects', either odd-sized pieces or pieces that have crystallized sugar which happens sometimes. From caramels

First batch. From caramels

Small gift bags for friends. I'll be topping these bags off with more caramels as soon as I wrap the 3rd batch. Batches 4-6 tomorrow! From caramels

I'll link the recipe below. Even though it says not to double the recipe, I always do.

Here is a link that might be useful: This is the recipe I use

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tea4all

Yum yum! What a great gift to receive. Thanks so much for this post and the recipe too.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 12:27AM
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tea4all

Yum yum! What a great gift to receive. Thanks so much for this post and the recipe too.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 12:35AM
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cat_mom

Those look yummy and ooey-gooey!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 12:59AM
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trailrunnerbiker

Oh wow ! Those look SO yum and your pics are great ! I can't imagine wrapping all those little bitty pieces ...you are amazing ! c

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 1:39AM
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francoise47

Inspiring! Thanks for sharing your recipe and all the helpful pictures. I can't wait to try these.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:14AM
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autumn.4

Those look so yummy! Thanks for linking the recipe!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:49AM
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oldbat2be

Now THAT is a gift in the Christmas spirit! Those look wonderful Wish I was one of the friends on the list to receive:)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:59AM
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deedles

I bow to you as I made caramels once and mine didn't look anywhere are nice as yours. Love the sea salt. Them buggers make my teeth hurt but it's worth it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:24AM
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scrappy25

Don't think I could make that without eating half of it! Looks wonderful, makes my mouth water. Thank you for sharing.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 11:53AM
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Linelle

Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Farms? In Berkeley?

You must live in the Bay Area. :)

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 2:50PM
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westsider40

Wow, wow. Gotta say that I love your kitchen and your induction cooktop and the way your kitchen works. Love it. And I would love, love a delicious caramel with sel. mmmmgood.

Silly question, here. Is is possible, just possible, even if it doesn't taste AS fabulous, can low carb caramels be made? or lower carb, as in, with splenda? or is it so silly because if youre going to eat a caramel, etc. Yes, I know that argument, but is it possible? Just asking, an obvious expert. Thanks, lol,

westy

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 5:07PM
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annkathryn

Thanks for the nice comments, I do try to resist these which is why I limit myself and my family to the "reject" bowl. As much as possible. Ok I might have to sample a few of the good ones as well...just to be sure they're really good...

linelle, I do live in the Bay Area (south bay) and have heard those commercials :)

westsider caramels are basically sugar and fat. My guess is that the chemical structure of sugar is what makes the caramelization happen and helps it get to its wonderful brown-ness. Unless splenda has the same proportions of fructose and glucose, I don't think the chemistry will be the same.

I should mention that this recipe, unlike the one from my childhood, is very forgiving regarding temperatures. I've gone over 320F and have stayed at 245F for longer than indicated on the recipe, and the caramels still come out wonderfully. My childhood recipe was so incredibly exacting and was often botched - I remember many batches where emergency measures such as adding marshmallows were required to bring the caramels back from the brink of hard toffee stage.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 5:23PM
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michoumonster

annkathryn,
those look oh so delish! how do you get the wrappers so professional? where do you sell them? i would love to grab a bag!
my go-to xmas gift is toffees which sometimes do not turn out quite right. i have never made caramels before because they always seem even more difficult. i will have to try your recipe this year if you say it is forgiving. thank you!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 6:09PM
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lazy_gardens

Is is possible, just possible, even if it doesn't taste AS fabulous, can low carb caramels be made? or lower carb, as in, with splenda?

No. The chemistry of the melting sugar crystals and the butterfat is what makes the caramel goodness happen.

Splenda has the wrong molecular structure, according to their site:

============
Can I use SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener to make candy, fudge and caramel?

The sugar content of fudge, caramel and other candy, angel food cakes, pound cakes and many meringues provides an important structural component which doesn’t allow for easy substitution with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener. Complete substitution in these types of recipes is not recommended.

==============
sounds like you could substitute part of it, but not all.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 6:54PM
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a2gemini

Wow. Those look amazing. Better book a flight to the Bay Area to test. Nice job!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:00PM
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annkathryn

michou - last year a friend of mine started selling cookies online and I joined in with caramels. California implemented a new cottage industry law that's relatively friendly to home kitchens, so my friend's kitchen is certified. You can email me through GW for more details if you'd like.

The wrappers are just wax paper, cut in a square-ish shape. They're easy to wrap - my sons used to have the job of wrappers back when they were younger.

Paper and caramel start - I like to have the salt at the top: From caramels

Fold paper over caramel but not all the way so the salt isn't covered twice:: From caramels

Wrapped with salt visible From caramels

Twist one end: From caramels

Twist other end: From caramels

My mother's original recipe that we started making when I was in high school. She still makes a couple batches every Christmas even after all these years. From caramels

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 7:48PM
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westsider40

Thanks AnnKathryn and Lazygardens for your prompt responses re my futile attempt to decarb this treasure. I'm on the plane with a2 to have a taste!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 8:45PM
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michoumonster

annkathryn, thanks for the detailed pics and wrapping explanation! why are you cooking in your friend's kitchen? you should totally get your kitchen certified. it is so beautiful and perfect! i am sure the CA dept of health will agree, lol! i will email you, thank you!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:19AM
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romy718

Yum, thanks for the recipe & the detailed instruction. Beautiful countertops too!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 9:38AM
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annkathryn

Hi michou,
I got your email but can't see your return email address. Can you resend with your email address in the message?

Thanks!

romy I love my Calacatta, especially the caramelly veins :)

This post was edited by annkathryn on Mon, Dec 9, 13 at 11:45

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 11:44AM
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Linelle

Grew up in the South Bay (Los Gatos).

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 2:01PM
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kailuamom

I'm interested in the online sales... How does that go? I make toffee at the holidays every year. Everyone tells me I should sell it, but I figure I would make about $1 an hour.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 2:47PM
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annkathryn

kailuamom your toffee looks absolutely delicious! Do you use pecans?

As for online sales, it's pretty difficult to make money. My friend started her business after the death of her husband as a way to work through her grief. She didn't care if she made any money at all, she just wanted something to keep her busy. As the mom of teenagers, her target market was families with kids in high school and college. She sells cookies by the dozen and care packages with mix-and match cookies, trail mix, tea and hot chocolate. She ships the same day she bakes because she prides herself on freshness, and the cookies really are wonderful. The challenges have been to find an economical shipping method, and come up with packaging that's attractive, sturdy and inexpensive. The ingredients themselves, while high-quality, are not the biggest expense if you want to pay yourself for your time. I think she's concluded that the only way to make money is to get to a point of very high volume, which is difficult to do unless you've got already got a bakery of your own and are selling retail out of a storefront.

I've done the math on the caramels and it's not all that lucrative either. I make them because I enjoy the process.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 3:23PM
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kailuamom

That's what I figured! Thanks.

I like the process too - once a year for about a week straight. Then, when it's over, I'm really glad! I can't see turning a joy into a job - I think it would be a bummer.

That said, if I made a little money at it, maybe I could write off the equipment.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 10:17PM
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