twelve days of food gifts 2012: apple cider caramels | basil vodka | lemon sugar | lime sugar | Old Bay vodka | orange sugar | peppercorn vodka | rosemary salt | salted maple caramels | vanilla extract | vanilla sugar | zesty salt’n'pep
Okay, okay, I’m late again on this one. But not too late! And today, on this last day of the Twelve Days of Food Gifts, you have a nice and easy edible gift that you can have packed into baggies under the tree by this afternoon.
Today: salted maple caramels.
If you can find it, use Grade B maple syrup in this recipe. It’s less refined and thus has a more mapley flavor, which helps it really come across in the caramels without having to resort to artificial maple flavoring. It’s also usually a little bit cheaper. I haven’t been able to find it at my local Safeway, but then again they never have anything I need. I always buy it in the big old jugs from Trader Joe’s.
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Prep an 8″x8″ baking pan. Line the pan with two criss-crossing strips of parchment paper that are long enough to allow overhang on both sides.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy cream, butter, and fine sea salt until just boiling. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves completely. Then boil for an additional 5-6 minutes, swirling pan occasionally, until mixtures has turned from amber to dark amber.
Pour warm cream mixture into syrup mixture ands stir to combine. Clip your candy thermometer to the side and cook, without stirring, until it reaches 248 degrees.
Pour caramel into prepared pan and let cool for ten minutes. Evenly sprinkle coarse salt over the surface, then let cool for three hours, until cool and firm. It’ll go faster if you pop it in the fridge.
Lift up the ends of the parchment paper to transfer caramel to a cutting board. Cut into 1″ strips, then cut each strip into 1″ pieces.
Wrap each caramel individually in a 4″x4″ square of waxed paper and twist the sides to close.
Caramels will keep stored in an airtight container for 2 weeks.