I made that!

Salted Creme Fraiche Caramels!

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, The Candy Store by brandi on February 25, 2010

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.

РWhen 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!