Peeps, I took the tiniest bit of a hiatus on this here blog, and apologies for that. Not even sure what happened causeI I had grand plans to share these delish salty caramels with you over two weeks ago. And, as we both know, that never happened. Moreover, the fact that these caramel candies are so damn yummy (and easy) does make me feel just that much guiltier that you didn’t have the opportunity to make them for xmas or NYE — or any of the days in between. But the recipe is yours for the making now, and I am hoping you quickly make up for lost time and get thee to the stove-top pronto.
Now, my recipe for these candies — I’m not going to lie — is the same recipe for my salty caramel apples. And, honestly, despite my love of salty caramel candies (both the making and eating of them) I didn’t have a clue that the recipe for one was really just the recipe for the other (save for the difference in assembly). To the contrary, my exposure to salty caramel making was limited to my time at baked, and to a Land O’Lakes recipe that I happened upon somehow/somewhere, and have always loved. But not an inkling did I have, that each time I made said candies, I actually could have been making candied apples, too.
I realized the caramel apple/caramel candy recipe connection when developing my own (aforementioned) recipe for candied apples. As I was perusing my library in pursuit of apple inspiration/ideas, I stumbled upon a recipe for caramel apples, in which the first ingredient listed was for a batch of “soft and chewy caramels” from the book’s previous page. An aha, moment, yes. Long story short, once I’d perfected the perfect caramel for dipping apples, I’d also developed a recipe for the softest, yet most toothsome, buttery, salty/sweet caramels ever(ish). Win/win, is all i’m saying.
The recipe is easy, the assembly a snap, and the results to die for. If there was ever a candy-crowd-pleaser, peeps, this is it. Yes, they are marvelous around the holidays, but, truly, they are marvelous around all the days.
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup you can use light, if that is all you have
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp maldon sea salt or another flaky sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- Spray an 8x8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment, so that the parchment extends up two sides of the pan, and spray again. Set aside.
- Combine the sugars, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan, preferably one that is tall and skinny. Stir the mixture, being mindful not to splash the sides of the pan with sugar, and place it over medium to medium-high heat. Once the mixture boils, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and bring the mixture to 245 to 248 degrees (firm ball). While cooking, use a wet pastry brush to wash off any crystalizing sugar on the sides of your pan. Do not stir.
- Meanwhile, place the heavy cream, condensed milk, and butter in a small saucepan, and warm this mixture on medium heat. Do not let it boil or simmer and continue to keep the mixture warm, while melting the sugars, etc.
- Once the sugars reach firm ball, remove the pan from the heat and add the warm cream mixture, being careful as you add it, as the caramel may splatter and bubble. Gently stir the caramel with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, and return it to medium to medium-high heat. Continue cooking the caramel until it reaches firm ball again. Do not stir. This may take up to 20 minutes on medium heat.
- Once it reaches temperature, immediately remove the caramel from the heat and add the vanilla and salt. Stir to combine. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and set aside on a cooling rack until the caramel comes to room temp, several hours, or overnight.
- Once cooled, lift the caramel out of the pan by the parchment paper, place it on a cutting board and slice the caramels into one-inch square pieces, using a chef's knife. Immediately wrap in small squares of parchment paper, twisting the ends of the paper to securely close. Caramel candies will keep up to a week on the counter. You can also refrigerate them, but bring to room temp before serving.