Gifts from the kitchen: Sea salt vanilla caramels

These rich, creamy sea salt vanilla caramels are made by gently heating whole cream, butter and sugar until the mixture forms soft, chewy squares of caramelized bliss.

Sea salt vanilla caramel twists

Melt-in-your-mouth good, they’re topped with a sprinkling of coarse sea salt to provide just the right contrast to the sweetness. While all kinds of caramel are good, you’ll taste the made-from-scratch goodness that takes these candies to the next level.

Making salted caramels

Maybe it’s the ingredients that give them that special taste, or maybe it’s the love. Whatever it is, when placed inside a pretty jar with a festive ribbon, these candies become a holiday gift that’s sure┬áto bring a smile┬áto the lucky recipient’s face.

Making caramel candies
Salted caramel

Tips

  • Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making candy; with a good thermometer and a little patience, you can do it!
  • Line a loaf pan with some foil and leave an extra flap on either side that you can use to lift the caramel “loaf” out when it’s done.

Caramel candy

  • Mix the cream, vanilla, salt and butter over medium heat until the mixture just begins to simmer. Then, remove it from the heat and set aside for later.
  • When making┬áthe sugar sauce with sugar and corn syrup, don’t worry if some crystals stick to the sides of the pan; just brush them back into the sauce with a wet pastry brush or a damp, heat-safe rubber spatula. Be patient: You want it to reach 310 F — that’s some hot stuff!


Sea salt vanilla caramel twists

  • Caution is key when you’re pouring the syrup into the cream mixture. It will boil like crazy, but don’t panic. Just keep pouring slowly to avoid┬áboilover.
  • Don’t put that thermometer away yet! You’ll next heat the mixture to 260F.

vanilla caramel candies

  • Choose whatever size you want for your caramels; just be sure to use a nice, sharp knife. Wrap each individually in a little twist of waxed paper, to give your candies the look of true confectionary delights.
  • Place them in a pretty jar for gifting!

Sea salt caramel

Sea salt vanilla caramel twists

Sea salt vanilla caramel twists

Yield 35-40 candies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear jar and holiday ribbon, for gifting
  • Waxed paper

Instructions

  1. Line 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with foil. Spray foil thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Heat whipping cream, vanilla, kosher salt and 2 tablespoons butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until mixture just starts to simmer. Remove from burner, cover with lid, and set aside.
  3. Mix sugar and corn syrup in 2-quart heavy saucepan and insert candy thermometer.
  4. Stir gently over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Use wet pastry brush to brush any stuck-on granules into syrup.
  5. Continue to cook without stirring until thermometer reads 310F. Disperse any dark areas in syrup by gently tilting saucepan in circular motion.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Pour cream mixture into syrup gently and slowly to avoid boilover. Syrup will bubble vigorously.
  7. Return pan to medium heat and continue to cook until candy thermometer reads 260F.
  8. Remove thermometer. Remove pan from heat.  
  9. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. The caramel should look smooth.
  10. Pour caramel into loaf pan and allow to cool for approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  11. Add sprinkling of coarse sea salt over top before completely cooling pan on cooling rack.
  12. When caramel is completely cool, lift it from pan by grasping edges of foil sheet. Gently peel foil from caramel.
  13. Cut into 35 to 40 squares with sharp knife. Wrap each caramel in twist of waxed paper and place in decorative tin tied with ribbon.

Courses Desserts

Sea salt vanilla caramels