salted butter caramels

Good morning, starshine! The earth says hello. Particularly this little corner of it, over here in PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA!

I’m just a little excited to be here, I don’t know if you can tell. It’s sunny, the mangoes are abundant and there are lots of awesome people around. Also, I got my nails done and they’re pretty. There’s a lot to be exited about.

Not least of which is a project I will be launching on the 1st of December. Projects are fun and this one has been a little crazy for my housemates but I’m sure you will appreciate it when it comes around. It’s Christmassy.

This post is also Christmassy, although it doesn’t have to be Christmas to make candy. I made these to put in hampers for Christmas presents for my relatives and they were very well received. They’re not very difficult to make, they just take a little time and patience. It’s definitely an exercise in delayed gratification. No matter how delicious it looks in the pot, it’s just not worth the excruciating burn you’ll get when you stick your finger in there.

Remember back when I made apple butter for my party? That went in the hampers, too. I also made gingerbread gentlemen and ladies, for which the recipe will be up later in December, although you can make these ones if you don’t want to wait that long. Also homemade shortbread. Which is amazing and I will definitely update you on that. In December.

Lots of things happening in December. Well, it is Christmas, after all. Unless you don’t celebrate Christmas, in which case, Happy Summer! Unless you’re in the Northern Hemisphere so let’s just say Huzzah for Being Alive and Able to Observe the Universe.

Enjoy!

Salted Butter Caramels

from David Lebovitz

A few tips:

1. Use a large saucepan. I mean, a really big saucepan. If that caramel boils over, you’ll spend the entire day cleaning and everything will still be sticky. Use a big saucepan even if, when you put the sugar in it, it’s too big. It’s probably just right.

2. Have a clean kitchen and set everything out ready for when you need it. You don’t want to be ready to pour the caramel into the dish and realise you’ve forgotten to line it.

3. Use a candy thermometer. I cannot stress this enough, because unless you are Willy Wonka, you probably won’t get the timing right without one, which could mean that you’re either scooping caramel out with a spoon or breaking your teeth on it.

4. Use good ingredients. This is the time to bust out the vanilla bean and expensive butter because you really can tell the difference.

Alright. Let’s do this thing.

540 ml heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

2 tsp + 1 tsp flaky sea salt

480 g golden syrup (you can also use rice syrup or light corn syrup)

600 g sugar

90 g + 90 g salted butter, cubed

Line a 9×13″ deep baking tray with baking paper, making sure it covers the sides.

Heat cream, vanilla bean and seeds, 2 tsp salt and 90 g butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and then shut off the heat. Let steep for at least an hour.

Bring cream mixture to a simmer, then take out the vanilla bean and scrape out  the insides. Keep warm while you make the caramel.

Heat sugar and golden syrup in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Move the sugar with a spoon only to “put out” any spots that seem to be cooking faster than the others. When the sugar has dissolved, shake and swirl the pan to distribute the heat. Cook until the temperature reaches 310°F/155°C.

Turn off the heat and add about a quarter of the hot cream. It’s going to bubble up on you. Keep stirring until it calms down, then add another quarter. Continue until all the cream has been added.

Return to the heat and cook until the temperature reaches 260°F/127°C. Pour into the prepared baking tray. Let it sit 10 minutes then scatter with the remaining 1 tsp flaky sea salt. Let cool completely before slicing into squares. You’ll want to wrap them individually or else they’ll stick together. You can use baking paper or cellophane.

Give to friends and relatives and watch them be super impressed.

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