As soon as I poured this caramel hotness into its cooling vessel, I could only think one thing:
(Props to my fellow Arrested Development fans)
Not that I messed up the recipe or anything, I just knew I was on track to eat way too many of these caramels.
The first one that I bit into for the purposes of the picture above wasn’t quite the right bite shape. Definitely had to try it again.
Then I started wrapping them up, and it turned into one of those I Love Lucy candy situations where I just couldn’t wrap them fast enough, so I had to eat some of them to stay on track.
There isn’t a conveyor belt in my house or anything, but you know. I had to.
A lot of people think making caramel is difficult. I wouldn’t call it difficult, but it is an attention whore.
When you set out on the road to caramel, there is no multitasking allowed. You can’t talk on the phone or catch up on Facebook drama.
Your entire world has to be centered on that pot of boiling sugar because the moment you go to do something else, it’ll turn on you.
And burnt caramel is a very sad situation.
So, assuming you can shut the world out for 30 minutes and read a candy thermometer, you can do it! I swear!
The recipe is based on one from Martha Stewart, who proclaims that bringing this caramel to 248 degrees (and not one degree more!) yields the perfect chewy-ooey-gooey caramel candy. She’s totally right.
I upped the vanilla content in these candies because everything needs more vanilla. Then I topped the caramel with cacao nibs and chunky sea salt. The cacao nibs add a slightly bitter, chocolatey crunch, and we all probably know by now that salted caramel is where it’s at.
This makes a pretty giant batch of caramels, and everyone likes being given a little something sweet around the holidays. So make some caramels, give them to loved ones, throw them from your rooftop, spread some holiday cheer!
Disclaimer: Throwing caramel candies from your roof is actually a really bad idea. Nobody wants a caramel injury. Just hand them to people. Maybe in a cute bag wrapped with a bow.
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2012
Be sure to use a much larger saucepan than you think you need for this recipe - heavy cream makes the caramel bubble up like crazy while boiling. Also make sure you have all your finishing ingredients (both salts, vanilla, cacao nibs) ready to go before the caramel comes to temperature. You have to work quickly at that point.
Yields: ~100-120 caramel candies (depending on how you cut them)Print