Note: Not everyone is a chocolate fanatic, and these sweet, buttery gems are not to be resisted, on Valentine’s Day or any other. They’re perfect to serve with coffee at the end of a nice dinner. Be careful not to overcook the caramels or they will harden long before they burn. Also, if they spread once you’ve cut them, not to worry, they’re delicious anyway.
Yield: 16 caramels
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over two sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.
In a deep saucepan, combine ¼ cup water, sugar, corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is golden brown. Swirl the pan, don’t stir, and watch at the end because it burns easily.
In another pot, bring cream, butter and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside.
When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add in the cream. It will bubble violently then subside. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook until the mixture reaches 248 F on a candy thermometer (about 10 minutes). Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm, about two hours.
When the caramels are cold, turn them out onto a cutting board and remove the paper. Cut the square in half. Starting with the long side, roll one piece into an 8-inch log. Repeat with the second piece. Sprinkle logs with fleur de sel, cut each log into 8 pieces. Wrap in parchment or glassine paper and serve individually.
Recipe by Ina Garten