If you are just now coming around to the idea that using salt in sweets is a good thing, don't beat yourself up about it. There is plenty of time for you to hop on this incredibly delicious band-wagon.
When I say "salt", I don't mean table salt. There is a whole world of salts out there that most of us have no idea about. But for this recipe, I am suggesting fleur de sel (the "flower of salt"), which is available at most good grocery stores these days, including Costco. Fleur de sel is a hand-harvested salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt off before the majority sinks to the bottom of the salt pans. I use fleur de sel in recipes where it won't be cooked (or at least not very long) and you will be able to enjoy it's taste - salads and salad dressings come to mind, as well as these caramels.
Candy-making is labour intensive and it can be quite finicky. Do you have a reliable candy thermometer? Do you have the time to sit by the stove and babysit the caramel for at least 30 minutes and maybe more? Great. Pull a stool up stove-side, make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy the process.
Makes approximately 6 dozen.
(picture taken by Kristine Newman)
2 cups (500 mL) corn syrup
2 - 300 mL cans sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) milk
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter
4 cups (1 L) granulated sugar
2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
Line a 15- x -10- x 1-inch (38 x 25 x 2.5 cm) baking sheet with parchment paper (this size is known as a jelly-roll pan).
Combine the corn syrup, condensed milk, milk, whipping cream, butter, and sugar in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Place the mixture over medium heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes to a boil.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 240 F (the soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and 1 Tbsp fleur de sel.
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan without scraping. Generously sprinkle with more of the fleur de sel.
Allow the caramel to stand at room temperature overnight. Cut into 1 - inch (2.5 cm) pieces and wrap the pieces in parchment paper squares or waxed paper squares.
Keeps at room temperature for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.