As a kid my favorite part of the grocery store was the produce department. It wasn’t because of the broccoli and bananas. It was the bin of caramels. An odd location for candy – go figure.
Often I stood staring at the mound of caramel squares wrapped in crackly cellophane. The silver scoop and white wax paper bags stood at the ready. Eternally hoping to hit the jackpot, I would give some a squeeze. More often than not they were hard as rocks. On the rare occasion they were fresh and soft; I was always allowed to scoop some up to take home.
Even at their freshest, those could never compare to beauty of these lusciously silky, and soft caramels. As much as I loved the caramels of my childhood, it now seems wrong to call all of them by the same name. The difference between them is wide - like fast food, and Michelin Star fine dining. I always thought that making caramels must be difficult as most of my encounters have been disappointing. This is a surprisingly simple recipe. It’s great to share with friends because it is an indulgent treat that is “just a bite”.
Lusciously Silky Soft Caramels
1/3 Cup light corn syrup
1/4 Cup honey
3/4 Cup sugar
Seeds of one vanilla bean
1/2 Teaspoon flaked sea salt
1 Cup heavy cream
Stuff you will need:
Wax paper squares approximately 3-1/2" square
Line an 8"x8" pan with foil and spray it lightly with cooking spray.
Simmer cream, honey, light corn syrup, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Once ingredients reaches a simmer, reduce to warm.
Place sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it melts. Shake the pan back and forth occasionally and wipe any sugar crystals away from the sides with a damp brush. When the sugar is a dark amber color, slowly add the cream mixture to the melted sugar and gently whisk until mixed. Cook until mixture reaches 245 on a candy thermometer. Pour into 8" x 8" pan.
Leave to cool overnight. Remove caramel from the pan and cut into pieces of approximately 1/2" x 1-3/4". Wrap in wax paper.