For another food gift item from my 7 Food Gifts post, I made salted chocolate-topped caramels. I love salted caramels, and they are made even better with a coating of semi-sweet chocolate.
Now, I have stayed away from caramels because everytime i make them they are either too soft or too hard and I can’t get that perfect chewy caramel that holds it shape, but yet can be chewed easily. FINALLY, I’ve got it…well sort of. Read on for the rest of the story.
I got this recipe from MyGirlfriendsBestRecipes.com. I halved it and didn’t coat my caramels in the chocolate like she did. Instead, I took the easier route and just spread the chocolate on top!
Salted Chocolate-Topped Caramels
Recipe adapted from MyGirlfriendsBestRecipes.com
Yield: 9×13 inch baking sheet of caramels
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups light corn syrup
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or chocolate of your choice
- fleur de sel or other form of salt for topping
- Butter a 9×13 inch rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine corn syrup, sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring frequently to 240 degrees. Cooking caramel takes about two hours. Keep your eye on the thermometer!
- Stir in butter and cream gradually, one cup at a time so the mixture remains at boiling point. Cook to 245 degrees.
- Remove pan from heat and add vanilla, stir well.
- Pour caramel into buttered rimmed baking sheet and cool completely. Allow to sit overnight in a cool location, uncovered.
- Melt chocolate in microwave-safe bowl. Spread evenly on top of caramels in pan. Sprinkle salt immediately on top. Allow chocolate to set (you can put it in the fridge to help this along). Using a sharp knife cut caramels into squares and enjoy!
This is my favorite part, watching the sugar caramelize. Then adding the cream and watching it boil and become all milky caramel-ly.
After I spread the caramel into the pan, I used a sharp knife and popped some of the bubbles that formed. You can see a film forming on top in the bottom left photo above. I poked at it to see when it set, then I woke up the next morning and it was completely hard!! Oh no!! This means I over-cooked my caramel. See below, I made toffee.
It still tasted good, but this was not going to fly with me! I started researching if I could reheat this caramel so I didn’t have to throw it all away. I overcooked and took too much moisture out of the caramel, so why not try to put the moisture back in? Hence, the next topic…
Saving Your Caramel!
I crushed the pan of hard caramels into smaller one inch pieces. Then I put them back in the pot with water – you can use cream too, but I ran out, so I tried water. Then I waited patiently for it to melt, and made sure I watched that thermometer like a hawk. Do not go over the 245!! In fact, I didn’t even reach 245. After your caramel hits the “soft ball” mark (around 240), pour it back into the pan.
What happened? I saved my caramel. I poured it back into a re-buttered pan. Let it cool. And then the next morning, I was happy to find a chewy caramel that was perfect consistency. So I mixed up my chocolate.