Veruca Salt would have approved: Fleur de sel chocolate caramels
June 8, 2008
I’ve recently become the proud owner of a chocolate tempering machine, along with chocolate molds and other chocolate-making accoutrement, thanks to the chocolate hostess party I threw a couple of months ago. I had never made chocolates before because it was messy and frankly, candy thermometers frighten me. The chocolate consultant (and my friend) swore to me this machine was going to change my life, and damned if she wasn’t telling the truth. If you call yourself a foodie and you have ever melted chocolate on a double boiler before – you need to get yourself one of these. Just put that untouched bread machine on Craigs List and make room for this. (Psst… while this machine retails for $350+, I paid $99. Yeah, I pimped out my friends, but after biting into perfectly tempered chocolate-covered strawberries, I’d do it again in a New York minute.)
I decided to make fleur de sel caramels, since I keep seeing them everywhere (Trader Joes, gourmet chocolate shops, food blogs). But I wanted to make mine a little different, as everyone cut theirs into little squares and dipped those squares into chocolate. I did have those snazzy new round candy molds … hmm.
Fleur de sel caramels (from Gourmet)
1 C. heavy cream
5 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp. fleur de sel
1 1/2 C. sugar
1/4 C. light corn syrup
1/4 C. water
Some complained that they couldn’t really taste the salt in this recipe, so I used a heaping teaspoon of the fleur de sel.
Bring cream, butter, and fleur de sel to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3 to 4 quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel. This can take about 15 minutes (at least it did for me).
Carefully stir in cream mixture (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248°F on thermometer, 10 to 15 minutes. I cooked it until 246°F since I wanted a soft and oozy caramel. I’ve read reviews of this recipe and some people complain that their caramels were rock hard. I have no idea what made my caramels so soft – maybe it’s because I cooked it at a slower boil?
For those without a candy mold: Line bottom and sides of an 8″ square pan with parchment paper, then lightly oil parchment. Pour the caramel after it reaches 248°F into the baking pan and cool 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.
For those with a candy mold: well before you even start the caramel, temper the chocolate (my machine takes about 28 minutes). Take a paintbrush and “paint” the bottom and sides with the tempered chocolate, coating well. Allow to harden completely.
After caramel reaches 246°F, remove from heat and let cool slightly. Drop caramel with a small spoon into the molds and fill 3/4 full.
Let cool for 10 minutes or so. Top with tempered chocolate, scrape smooth and let set fully. Shake (or slam usually) chocolates out.
After all this work, hubby said they looked like Rolos. Wah.
As you can see, I placed fleur de sel on top of the chocolates, but that was just for the photo (and to eat). The tops of the caramels were the first to be “painted” and are perfectly hard, so I have yet to figure out a way to have the salt stick to the chocolate. The caramel is just the right consistency as evidenced by the oozing from the first photo to the last. And the taste? The rich buttery caramel enrobed in dark chocolate melding with salty sweetness – a perfect combination.
What to do with the leftover caramel and chocolate…