Salted Creme Fraiche Caramels!
Sometimes a project just smacks you on the head.
It’s been a busy two weeks, first a trip to the Cascades (gorgeous!) and then a literal PILE of friends from San Francisco descended on Seattle for a weekend of total gluttony (and all I’m gonna say about that is “Don’t eat a Bacon Cheeseburger at Lunchbox Laboratory before noon. It hurts.”). And the sun. Did I mention the sun? It’s been shining over Seattle for two weeks. There was no way I was spending my days in the kitchen. I was planting a montmorency cherry tree in my front yard. And blueberry and raspberry bushes in the back. And if I can convince John to drive me back to the nursery I suspect we’ll be adding a comice pear tree to the family.
BUT. Back to projects. For some reason caramels just keep popping up. Everywhere. I go out to eat and one gets handed to me with the bill. I go to candy stores and they are there, taunting me. Even Pantea bought me a box as a present before flying away. The weird thing is, for some strange reason, they all tasted like raisins. I can’t explain it, but it was making me think that I left my taste buds in San Francisco. So I decided to make my own. I poked around on the interweb and found a recipe that had the two magic words: salt and creme fraiche. The only changes I made were adding some vanilla and slightly lowering the salt, because I didn’t want that to be ALL one tasted.
First I warmed up some creme fraiche over low heat.
While that was warming I heated up butter, sugar, corn syrup, milk, vanilla bean seeds and salt. This started out easy enough, but it was a tad tricky getting it up to 300 degrees without it burning in spots. There was a lot of stirring involved. I would have taken pictures, but I unfortunately only have 2 hands.
Once it was nice and dark (and 300 degrees) I poured the mixture into a foil lined baking pan. I let it sit overnight to cool.
Then I began the arduous task of slicing it into individual pieces. Can we just take a moment to appreciate that Seattle sunlight?
And candy was had by all! Well, by me and John anyways. I think I’ll be mailing some of this off to friends, because there is just no reason two people need this much deliciousness in their home. And btw, I am happy to report that these caramels did not even remotely taste like raisins. I dare say they were perfect.
SALTED CREME FRAICHE CARAMELS RECIPE:
250 grams sugar
250 grams light corn syrup
250 grams whole milk
200 grams unsalted butter
1 TBSP + 2 tsp salt
1/2 vanilla bean seeds
200 grams creme fraiche
– Line an 8″ square cake pan with foil and brush with melted butter.
– Put creme fraiche in small saucepan over low heat. You want it all loose and melty, not boiling.
– Rub vanilla bean seeds into sugar and place all the ingredients (minus creme fraiche) in a medium sauce pan. Heat over high with a thermometer in place, stirring occasionally. Once it starts to take on color, stir constantly, scraping around the sides to prevent scorching.
– When it reaches 300 degrees, very very slowly pour in the creme fraiche. Since it will probably splatter and attack you, I recommend wearing an oven mitt for protection. Because caramel burns, they hurt. And they scar. Stir the crap out of the caramel, getting all the lumps out.
– Once it is perfectly smooth, pour it into the lined cake pan. Let it cool completely, at least a few hours.
– Turn the candy out onto a cutting board and start slicing. It will stick, but you can easily scoop up the pieces with an offset spatula.
– Wrap them in waxed paper and hand them out to all your friends!