There was a tiny pharmacy not far from my house that I, very occassionally, would stop in to buy a few things if I was in the area. It wasn’t in a convenient location…to me anyway, and it look like it had been stuck in time. Not always a bad thing but hey….everyone I know wants everything and immediately these days. They don’t want to wait around for someone to “go in the back to see if they have more of…whatever”. This was THAT kind of place. The shelves had very little inventory of every item they sold so if you needed more than two boxes of epsom salts or something else entirely different you would have to ask for it. This was not the place to stock up on “personal” items. You’d have to save that for Walgreens or Costco or risk everyone in the store knowing your very, personal business. Whatever that may be.
The one item they did have, as odd as it may sound, were these wonderfully chewy, slightly salted caramels that just dissolved on your tongue. That’s if you had the patience to savor them and enjoy them….and not chew them which would require constant picking at your teeth afterward. I would buy about 10 of these and it was never enough. If I had known the store was closing I would have bought the entire inventory. I didn’t know….and now it’s closed…and now….I can’t find the caramels anywhere. I don’t even know who made them.
So, I made some myself. They are even better than the store bought version. And let me tell you this, you may not be sold on the first bite. The sea salt is a little overpowering at first but then, all the flavors begin to meld together and it’s this wonderfully, meltingly, harmonious orchestra of flavors. You will need another one. And then, perhaps, one more.
They make a great hostess gift or a gift to yourself. These were a gift just for me. 🙂
Sea Salted Caramels
Makes approximately 40 caramels
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into squares
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling (I used Maldon flakes)
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Line the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper and then lightly spray with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter and salt to a boil and then remove from the heat. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water over med-high heat. Bring to a boil while continuing to stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil without stirring but swirling the pan gently until the mixture is a light golden color.
Stir in the cream mixture slowly (the mixture will bubble violently) and simmer over low heat stirring frequently until the caramel reaches 248 degrees, or soft ball stage, on a candy thermometer, approximately 15 minutes. Pour the caramel into the prepared baking pan and cool completely.
Cut the caramel into one inch squares and sprinkle the tops with sea salt flakes. Wrap each caramel individually in a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper.
*Note: I poured my mixture onto a baking sheet and cut the cooled caramel into 1/2 inch ribbons. I then rolled each ribbon into the pinwheel shape you see in my pictures. The squares are much easier because as you handle the caramel it will begin to warm up and become difficult to deal with.