Last week I had a full day of dancing at a big ballroom competition in Los Angeles. I was so amped after the competition that the next morning, I woke up at 5am (very uncharacteristic of me as I’m not a morning person) and made salted honey caramels.
I have quite a bit of caramel making experience under my belt, but this was the first caramel recipe in which I melted and caramelized the sugar on its own before adding in the other ingredients (other recipes I’ve tried have instructed to melt the sugar with water or light corn syrup).
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that the flavor is well balanced and slightly mellow with the honey really shining through. These salted honey caramels were such a hit that I’ve made them twice in the past week. Even though the recipe makes a small batch (barely covers an 8×8 inch pan), once you get the hang of cooking the sugar without burning it, you’ll be whipping up multiple batches in no time.
Salted Honey Caramels
(Adapted from Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini)
Makes 40 caramels
1 cup heavy cream (240g)
1/3 cup light corn syrup (95g)
1/4 cup honey (74g)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon Maldon salt (3g)
3/4 cup sugar (175g)
- Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream, corn syrup, honey, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to very low and keep warm.
- In a large saucepan, cook the sugar over medium heat until completely melted. If there are any sugar crystals on the edges of the pan, wash the sides down with a brush dipped in cold water. Continue cooking the sugar, swirling the pan as necessary for even cooking, until the sugar is deep mahogany brown. The pan will give off white smoke- if the smoke gets darker, it means the sugar is burning and has gone too far.
- Reduce the heat to low. Slowly pour the cream mixture into the sugar (the sugar will bubble up). Whisk to mixture well, and return to medium heat.
- Continue cooking until the temperature reaches 250°F.
- Immediately pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan. Let it settle briefly, and then tap the pan on the counter to release any bubbles.
- Let the pan stand until the candy is completely cool, preferably overnight, or refrigerate to firm up the caramel. Using the parchment, lift the caramel out of the pan, and set it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1/2 x 1 1/2-inch pieces, and wrap them in wax paper or caramel wrappers.
Store the caramels in a cool spot or in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.