Pirate Kitchen

Fleur de Sel Caramels

Candy, Desserts, General | October 9, 2011 | By

Fleur de Sel Caramels

The road to happiness is paved with Fleur de Sel Caramels. I’m not sure there’s anything else to say. I can’t think of a reason to not make these. They are the creamiest, butteriest (hmmmm, that should be a word) of caramels with salt giving it the perfect salty-sweetness. In a word:  divine. I brought them to work and even the non-believers are now converts (did I just hear you say ooo la la?). And who doesn’t love to hear, “you really made these?” This is now my go-to gift for every occasion and I will definitely be cranking them out for the Holidays (yes, I’m going there) and have been asked to make them for a baby shower! The one thing you must own is a candy thermometer. It has to reach an exact temperature or you’ll end up with a really delicious caramel sauce (and you’re wondering how I would know that). It’s not a terrible mistake, but ever so slightly disappointing when you were expecting caramels. So what are you waiting for?

Start with an 8×8 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray, lined with parchment with the edges hanging over (trim to fit inside the pan) and spray the parchment again with cooking spray.8x8 baking pan with parchment

Without stirring, bring the water, sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil in a saucepan about 4″ wide and at least 4-5″ deep. Occasionally swirl the pan. Meanwhile, in another smaller pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a simmer over medium heat.  Turn off the heat and set aside.Boiling Sugar

Once the sugar turns a nice, deep golden brown, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture.Golden Brown Boiling Sugar Mixture

Be careful – it will really bubble up! Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon, attach the candy thermometer and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm ball) on the candy thermometer. Boiling Caramel

It’s really hot! Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.Just poured caramel

When the caramel is cold and ready for cutting, lift the parchment from the pan onto a cutting board. Lightly spray a pizza cutter and one side of a plastic ruler with cooking spray. Line up the left edge of the ruler with the left edge of the caramel square and cut into strips with the pizza cutter following along the right edge. Continue, moving to the right until all the caramel is cut into strips (about 7). Turn the board and do the same, running across the strips and cutting them into squares. My ruler is 1″x1″ so that’s the size of the caramels.Cutting cooled caramel

Now for the secret weapon:  salt. I love to use Maldon sea salt flakes which are not much different from fleur de sel (“flower of salt”). So technically they’re not “fleur de sel”, but close enough. Details, details.Maldon Sea Salt

Maldon sea salt flakes are cultivated in Essex, England, taste crisp and bright, but the clincher for me is that they look like snowflakes on top of the caramel. The large, jagged flakes sit beautifully on top of the caramel inviting you to take a bite. Go ahead and try not to!Sea Salt Flakes

Sprinkle the salt over each caramel. Wrap individually in parchment or wax paper that’s cut into 5″x5″ squares or, if making batches for say a very special birthday, upcoming baby shower (Mary’s baby!) AND the Holidays (went there again), purchase really awesome clear candy wrappers (about $20, including shipping, for 1,000 wrappers and totally worth it). You can also find smaller packs of candy wrappers at craft stores (like JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels) that sell cake and candy making supplies.

Now back to the star of the show. The salt holds up perfectly:  it stays on the caramel and doesn’t break down by getting wet or “weepy”. It’s lovely and again in a word, divine.Fleur de Sel Caramels

Fleur de Sel Caramels
Yields about 50 caramels

Ingredients

  • Vegetable spray
  • 1 1/2 Cups sugar
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1/4 Cup light corn syrup
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start with an 8″x 8″ baking pan sprayed with cooking spray, lined with parchment with the edges hanging over (trim to fit inside the pan) and spray the parchment again with cooking spray.

Without stirring, bring the water, sugar and corn syrup to a rolling boil in a saucepan about 4″ wide and at least 4-5″ deep. Occasionally swirl the pan. Meanwhile, in another smaller pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of the salt to a simmer over medium heat.  Turn off the heat and set aside.

Once the sugar turns a nice, deep golden brown, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture. Be careful – it will really bubble up! Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon, attach the candy thermometer and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm ball) on the candy thermometer.

Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

When the caramel is cold and ready for cutting, lift the parchment from the pan onto a cutting board. Lightly spray a pizza cutter and one side of a plastic ruler with cooking spray. Line up the left edge of the ruler with the left edge of the caramel square and cut into strips with the pizza cutter following along the right edge. Continue, moving to the right until all the caramel is cut into strips (about 7). Turn the board and do the same, running across the strips and cutting them into squares. My ruler is 1″x 1″ so that’s the size of the caramels.

Sprinkle the salt over each caramel.Wrap individually in parchment or wax paper that is cut into 5″x5″ squares or place in a container covering each layer with parchment or wax paper. Store in the refrigerator.

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Fleur de Sel Caramels

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  1. Robert
    October 19, 2011

    These treats are unbelievably good. Watching the caramel bubble and just smelling the air while it’s cooking sends me over the edge. — A fairly easy to do recipe also.
    Thanks Pirate Kitchen Girl!!