This is my recipe for Sea Salt Caramels. These are the little gems I had the children pass out for our "sermon application." It was a big hit!
2 cups sugar
2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb dark or milk chocolate
3 Tbsp sea salt of your choice
Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, covering the bottom and sides. (Alternately, line the pan with foil and butter the foil).
Combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, half-and-half, and salt in a 5 qt sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring (with a wooden spoon) occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil.
Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixtures reaches 245*F. Immediately remove from heat.
Slowly add cream, stirring until fully incorporated.
Return mixture to medium heat and cook until mixture returns to 245*F, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour into prepared pan. Do not scrape the pot. (Scraping comes later, with a small metal spoon, before the caramel is fully set. Thus, you do not have to wait several hours to get a taste).
Allow caramel to cool for 1-2 hours, cover with plastic wrap and finish cooling overnight.
Remove plastic wrap from caramel. Turn caramel out of the pan, onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel the parchment paper (or foil) from the caramel.
Using a large kitchen knife and tape measure, cut caramel into 1 inch wide strips. Cut into strips into 3/4 inch wide pieces. Arrange caramels on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (10x15 or larger). Do not allow any of the caramels to touch one another. Sexual harassment is bad, and another post entirely. Suffice it to say, NO BAD TOUCH!
In a double-boiler, over simmering water, melt 12 oz of the chocolate of your choice. Once chocolate is fully melted, remove pan from heat. Add the remaining 4 oz chocolate. Stir to fully melt.
Using a fork, dip each caramel in the chocolate and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Before the chocolate has a chance to harden, sprinkle with a few grains of sea salt. I sprinkle every 12 caramels or so.
Cool completely and enjoy!
Store in mini paper baking cups in an airtight container.
This recipe makes 108-120 caramels, depending on whether you use a metal baking pan with relatively sharp corners and straight sides or a Pyrex baking dish with rounded corners and slightly sloping sides. When using Pyrex baking dishes, I always trim a significant portion of the outer edges to get uniformly shaped pieces.
I like to sprinkle white sea salt on dark chocolate, pink sea salt on milk chocolate. I think the contrast looks lovely. Regardless of how you choose to dip and sprinkle, these caramels are a fantastic treat!
After making two batches for this morning's service, I have just enough left over to send out some care packages to dear friends. How fortuitous that the "salt and light" passage fell a week before Valentine's Day. I feel the siren call of the fates, and they are singing, "Valentine's chocolate! Valentine's chocolate!"
Yes, life is good.