Ask the French, and they’ll claim that the genius concept of salting sweets isn’t new—and they’re right. Salted butter caramels are a traditional treat in the region of Brittany, made famous by chocolatier Henri Le Roux at the end of the 20th century. In the United States, salted caramels have been especially popular in the past few years, and the trend shows no signs of losing momentum. The flavor is everywhere, from cookies to ice creams to candies— even fast food chains like Arby’s and Cinnabon are jumping on the bandwagon with salted caramel desserts.
But you don’t need to hit the drive-thru or patisserie. Create the original soft, creamy treats right in your own home, just in time for the holiday season.
If you’ve never made candy before, don’t worry: This recipe is especially forgiving. The addition of goat’s milk gives these caramels a special richness, but cow’s milk works in a pinch. Caramels will stay fresh for up to two weeks in the refrigerator—but good luck keeping them around that long!
Makes 60 – 80 wrapped caramels
- Baking dish (8-inches-by-8-inches)
- Stainless steel pot
- Candy thermometer
- Oven mitts
- Measuring cups
- Wax paper
- ½ cup butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for buttering dish
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1¼ cups goat’s milk
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1¼ tablespoons vanilla extract
- Flaky sea salt, to finish
Note: Be sure to wear appropriate clothing for handling boiling sugar: long sleeves, pants, and oven mitts.
1. Butter baking dish. In a pot set over high heat, combine butter, brown sugar, white sugar, honey, goat’s milk, and heavy cream.
2. Stir mixture constantly while keeping candy thermometer partly submerged. When temperature reaches 248°F, remove pot from heat. Add vanilla and stir.
3. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle salt over caramel. Let cool 30 minutes, and then transfer, uncovered, to refrigerator. Chill several hours, until firm.
4. Scoop a half-teaspoon of caramel into your palm, and roll it into a ball. Place on wax paper. Repeat with remaining caramel, leaving about two inches between candies.
5. Using scissors, cut lengthwise and crosswise between caramels, so each candy is on its own square of wax paper. Roll caramels into ovals inside the wax paper squares, and twist sides closed. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.
6. Once wrapped in wax paper, caramels resemble old-fashioned salt water taffy. For a festive look, choose colored or patterned wax paper. Small tin buckets or decorative boxes lined with tissue paper make great gift packaging; find both at your local craft store.