Bradley Family Favorite – Ina Garten’s Fleur de Sel Caramels

Candy.  They say it brings out the kid in us.  But, there’s some “adult” candy out there just yearning to be tried.  Introducing, Ina Garten’s Fleur de Sel Caramels.

I know that many of you are probably wondering, what in the world is Fleur de Sel?  Well, basically, it’s a French sea salt, usually found in specialty food stores and online.  The salt is usually very light in texture and flaked.  As far as flavor goes, critics say it’s the finest sea salt available.  Since we do not have any specialty food stores close to our area, you can easily buy Fleur de Sel online.  You can purchase it at Amazon.com and Williams & Sonoma.  Price varies, but generally you can purchase it anywhere from $10-15.

I was watching “Barefoot Contessa” one day when Ina made these delicious sweet treats.  My mouth was watering so bad, that I immediately went to the store to buy all the ingredients needed (recipe to follow), and I couldn’t wait to cook up a batch of these caramels.

These caramels are probably the easiest of any candy I’ve ever made.  It’s almost hard to believe that something this good can be made in your own home.  Here is the recipe, along with step-by-step instructions:

 

Ina Garten’s Fleur de Sel Caramels:

Ingredients:

1  1/2 cups of Sugar                           1/4 cup of Light Corn Syrup

1/2 cup of Water                                 1 cup of Heavy Cream

5 tbsp. of Unsalted Butter                   1 tsp. of Fleur de Sel, plus extra for sprinkling

1/2 tsp. of Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Line the bottom of a 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.  If you do not have an 8-inch pan, use a 9×13 cake pan.  Combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water, stirring once with a wooden spoon to mix, then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue to boil the caramel until it is a warm, golden-brown chestnut color.  Don’t stir – just swirl the pan to mix.  Please use extreme caution when swirling the sauce pan.  Watch carefully, as the caramel will burn quickly in the end.

In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 tsp. of fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat.  Remove from heat, set aside and keep warm.

When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel – it will boil up violently!  Immediately stir in the vanilla extract with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm ball stage) on a candy thermometer.  Very carefully, pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.

When the caramels are cool to the touch, firm, yet pliable, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board.  Starting at one end, roll the caramel up tightly until you’ve rolled up half of the sheet.  Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly.  You will have 2, 1×8 inch logs (if you use the 9×13 cake pan, you will have to cut caramel in half vertically, then roll the caramels up half, then cut again – you will have 4 logs instead of two at the end).  After the logs are rolled, sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel, then cut into 1-2 inch squares.  Using premade candy wrappers or hand-cut 4 1/2 x 6 inch parchment paper for each caramel, wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting at the ends.  Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator or at room temperature.

 

And that’s all there is to it.  Obviously, the sea salt definitely makes this a very savory, adult caramel.  Now, if you think adding salt to the top of a caramel seems less than appetizing, I can tell you that these caramels are “to die for” even without the sprinkling of salt on top.  But I urge each of you to at least give it a try.  And if a sea salt-topped caramel isn’t your thing, then just use regular sea salt in the cream mixture preparation, thus eliminating the need altogether for the fleur de sel.  My daughter Zoe has loved these caramels since she was old enough to chew a caramel, and she requests that I make these very often.  So, get into the kitchen and try these wonderful, easy treats.  You’ll be very glad you did.  And your tongue will slap your brains out 🙂

Last, but certainly not least, always remember that good food can come…in a Morgan Minute!  ENJOY!

–David Bradley

 

 

  • http://morganminute.com adminDave

    David, I remember when I saw this episode of Ina, thinking how good these must be…combining the salty with the sweet, sort of like having potato chips with birthday cake. 🙂

    I may just have to give this recipe a try.

  • dbradley

    Dave, make sure you do try them. It will be your next favorite candy. I’m thinking about taking this recipe and after the caramels are cut into squares and set for a bit, and then dip them in chocolate! I’ll let you know how they turn out.