Anyway...making caramel is hard you say. Guess what? It's not. This recipe is super easy to follow and while it takes some time, it's pretty much inactive time where you're watching sugar boil. I made these chocolate peppermint cupcakes while I was making these caramels because I try to multitask whenever possible.
And now let me really sell you. I'm not a big caramel fan, but I've been eating a handful of these daily. Homemade caramel is leaps and bounds better than store bought. When you add a vanilla bean into them, there is such a great depth of flavor and richness. And then you sprinkle some sea salt on top, and it satisfies every sweet/salty craving you've ever had. They are truly incredible. I insist you make these and if you can, give some as gifts. If you can't because you ate them all, I understand. There's always next year.
Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels Recipe
Makes 64 caramels
Print this recipe
Note: I cooked my caramel to 248 degrees, but it took me a little bit of time to actually pour the caramel out of the pan. So my caramels were a bit too hard (but still edible and delicious). To cut them, I placed the large square on a plate and microwaved them for about 15 seconds until they were soft enough to cut. Next time, I will cook my caramel to 246-247 degrees.
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and lightly butter the parchment.
In a small saucepan, combine the cream, butter, vanilla extract, vanilla beans, pods, and sea salt in a pan and set over medium high heat until it boils. Then remove from heat and set aside.
In a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan, boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Don't stir anymore but swirl the pan every so often until the mixture turns a light golden color.
Remove the pods from the cream mixture and then slowly and carefully stir the cream mixture into the boiling sugar (it will bubble up so be careful). Stir frequently and simmer until the mixture registers 246-248 degrees on a candy thermometer (246 will give you a softer caramel and 248 will be a firmer caramel).
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, sprinkle some additional sea salt on top of the caramel. Let cool completely and then remove from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares, using a greased knife or pizza wheel. Wrap each piece into a 4-inch square of waxed paper, twisting the two ends to close.
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride