My husband loves caramels and I have never made them! I have been intimidated by the recipe for reasons unknown but I ventured forth and finally tried the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe and also looked at a recipe from the pastry chef of Le Bernardin. Alas, it was a success! Next time, I would cook them a little longer as I was impatient this time and also worried that I might burn the caramel. Be very careful and work slowly when pouring the cream into the sugar syrup. It took a good 10-15 minutes to reach the 248 degree temperature after adding the cream. I cut the caramels into at least 36-40 pieces. Ina suggests to roll them but I did not do that. My caramels are about 1″ square and I cut 4″ squares of wax paper to wrap them. The hardest part for me was wrapping them attractively! I did not have fleur de sel but used my Himalayan sea salt in the recipe!
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper, allowing it to drape over 2 sides, then brush the paper lightly with oil.
In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown. Don’t stir — just swirl the pan.
In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.
When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.
Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.