Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels

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I’ve never been one to make candy. The fudge from yesterday was as close to candy as I’ve ever really gotten. Until last year.

I saw a recipe for caramel. I was in awe. Not to mention that we had just started making our own vanilla, so I had vanilla beans at my disposal. (happy dance!)

I’m pretty sure I made these at least three times last year and only within a couple weeks. Every party I took these to, they got eaten right away! They were that good.

The most difficult thing about these was just finding the fleur de sel. I went to a local bulk foods store that has a plethera of coarse salts, but none with this specific name. And the employees weren’t helpful either. But thankfully, I have had my handy dandy ‘smart’ phone and could look up some other names for it. I ended up buying was called Sel Gris, a french sea salt. It was a little pricey, but I have barely used any of it over the course of the year, so I think it’s well worth the money.

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels (from Annie’s Eats)Yield: 64 caramels

1 cup heavy cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean pod, split lengthwise and scraped1 1/4 tsp fleur de sel, plus a little more sprinkling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water

Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, pods and fleur de sel.  Cook over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling the pan occassionaly, until the mixture turns a light golden caramel color.
Remove the vanilla bean pods from the cream mixture and carefully stir the cream mixture into the caramel. The mixture with bubble up, so pour slowly and stir constantly. Continue simmering the mixture until it reaches 248 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Immediately remove from heat and pour in the the prepared pan.
Let cool for 30 minutes, then sprinkle lightly with fleur de sel.
Continue to let sit until completely set and cooled. Cut in to 1×1 inch pieces.
If I recall, I buttered a pizza cutter and it worked quite well 🙂
Wrap the individual pieces in small pieces of wax paper. (or just eat them all!)

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There you have it. Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels. Wasn’t that easy?

Here’s my next flamingo!
Flamingo #5, 2009

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Merry Christmas!

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