Please forgive me, I have to toot my own horn here for a minute: This year, as a holiday gift to my friends, family, (and myself,) I made caramels. Not just any caramels, no, I made salted rosemary caramels. And let me tell you, they were delicious!
OK, let’s just strait to the recipe, things you will need:
- Two heavy-bottomed pans
- A candy thermometer
- Small fine mesh strainer
- A baking pan (round or square) for cooling the caramel.
- Parchment paper
- A little olive oil
- Wooden spoon
(Makes approximately one batch of 40-50 caramels)
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
- 1-2 stems of dry or fresh rosemary
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- Begin by mixing your cream, butter, salt and rosemary into the smaller of your two pans. Put them at a low simmer and allow the rosemary to infuse it’s flavor into the butter and cream. (Be careful not to allow it to boil over.) See left picture below.
- While that is simmering, lightly oil the parchment or baking paper and line the baking pan. Once the scent of rosemary has filled your house and infused the cream mixture, begin making the caramel base.
- Begin by putting your sugar, water and corn syrup into the larger heavy-based pan. Stir once, then bring to a boil on medium heat until ithas turned a warm golden brown. While boiling do not stir, swirl gently if you need to. See right picture below.
- Once the mixture is the right color, remove from heat and gently and slowly pour the cream mixture through the strainer into the pan. Stir. Be careful, this will bubbly up in a frothy manner to almost twice it’s size.
- Next, add vanilla, stir and return to medium heat. Immediately place your candy thermometer in the pan as directed by the thermometer instructions.
- Stir occasionally with your wooden spoon and carefully watch your temperature, the goal temperature is between 248 and 252 degrees Fahrenheit. (Pay attention to your candy thermometer, you want to be in between soft ball and hard ball settings, depending on how hard or soft you want your caramels.)
- Once the mixture has reached the desired temperature, pour the your hot caramel into the prepared, lined, pan. See bottom picture below.
- Let the caramel cool 4-6 hours, or over night. (If you need to speed this process up, place on a hot pad in the freezer or fridge.)
- Once cool, cut the caramel into thin strips, then pieces, and wrap. You can use candy wrappers or parchment paper, however I suggest very lightly oiling the paper before you wrap to reduce chance of sticking.
- Eat, enjoy, share, or don’t, it’s up to you!
(Note: I have adapted this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook.)