Salted Chocolate Caramels
Tis the season for chocolates and treats!
Well. Here we are. December 1st. Staring down the barrel of what could be a long and dark winter and going into the Winter Holidays knowing that they are likely going to be...smaller than normal. Quieter than normal. More subdued? Or maybe not. This year, in what appears to be a blatant attempt to force Christmas Cheer and positivity, Chris and I noticed on our daily afternoon walk (keeping things exciting the last 9 months) that holiday decorations started going up immediately after Halloween, and call me crazy but it felt like everyone kinda stepped up their game this year. More lights, more wreaths, more garland.
Beyond just visual decor, the giving spirit, among those who can afford to, feels stronger, more urgent this year. Whether that means donating food to your local food pantry, adopting a family for Christmas, surprising your kid's teachers with a meal delivery, or simply dropping off a small unexpected sweet treat to a friend, I think we all know that we need each other a little more this season.
When Edible Indy and SoChatti reached out to me to pair up for a giveaway of their chocolate warmer and a tour of their new tasting room in Indianapolis, I immediately tried to think of something to make that was not only intensely chocolatey, but that highlighted the different notes and flavors in their chocolate varieties. As a bonus, whatever I would make could easily be wrapped up and given away to friends and family this season. These salted chocolate caramels check every single box. For a caramel, they are easy to make and not as finicky as some other candy recipes due to using more stable, less-likely-to-crystallize corn syrup in addition to granulated sugar. A hefty addition of cream made them soft and chewy like the worlds best tootsie roll, and the Honduras Chocolate with its notes of nuttiness and smoke are *chefs kiss* perfect pairing with a bite sized caramel treat like this.
Salted Chocolate Caramels
Makes MANY caramels, depending on how big you cut them, about ~75 individual 3/4 inch squares from an 8x8 pan. You can double this recipe and make over 100 caramels by using a 12x16 inch baking pan. Make these today, and enjoy in 12-24 hours.
This recipe is adapted from Erin Jeanne McDowell. This post is part of a promotion between Edible Indy and SoChatti.
2 C Heavy Cream, divided
1 1/4 C light corn syrup
2 1/4 C granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate (70-80%)-- I used an 8 oz pouch of SoChatti Honduras either finely chopped or melted
4 oz (one stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp vanilla extract
Flaky Salt, to top
Spray an 8x8 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, and then fashion a parchment sling using two pieces of parchment. Spray again with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large saucepan (4 qts minimum here, the mixture boils and bubbles a lot), add one cup of heavy cream, corn syrup, sugar and salt. Add your candy thermometer and place over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to ensure everything is well combined.
Once the mixture starts boiling, get ready to start stirring. Stir constantly until mixture reads 220F. Continue stirring and add the chocolate and butter and keep stirring to combine.
KEEP stirring (don't walk away, you don't want the chocolate to burn) until the mixture reads between 240F and 245F on the candy thermometer. I pulled mine off at 243F*.
*Candy Making Note*: The temp you pull the caramels off the stove will determine the final chew and texture of the caramels. Too low and they'll be goopy, too high? You'll need a trip to the dentist. 240F is the high end of the "soft ball" stage (think: fudge), and 250 is the high end of the "hard ball" stage, so 243 (imo) gives you the soft, tootsie-roll quality we are looking for.
Once the candy is at 243, pull it off the heat and add the vanilla. Give it a quick stir to combine and then carefully (it's hot!) pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with flaky salt and set aside somewhere it won't be bothered for the next 12-24 hours.
When caramels are fully cooled, carefully lift them out of the parchment sling and onto a cutting surface. Spray a large chef's knife with nonstick spray and cut into desired rectangles or squares. Wrap in wax paper or parchment and store in a cool, dry place.