Ooey gooey caramels – soft and chewy – are the best! I especially love the ones that have an innovative twist and are not just sweet (my friend Katherine creates incredible flavor combos in her Confiserie – Katherine Anne Confections). As always with food, balance, complexity and nuances is where a great, gourmet type food experience is at for me. A bite that develops from the first impression on the tip of your tongue, to your middle palate and finishes with yet another note on the back of your palate.
For weeks I’ve been mulling the idea of artisan Hot Sauce Caramels in my head. Caramels are rich (cream! butter!) and sweet, the Heirloom Hot Sauce Chiltepin is tangy and spicy. The perfect complement in theory. What can I say – it also works in practice! I’ve tested these on several friends and everyone thoroughly enjoyed them.
The key to chewy, soft caramels is that you religiously follow the method – stop stirring after you added the cream, do not scape the pot – and keep an eye on the temperature. Do not let it go over and do not be impatient and pull the caramel before you reach the required temperature!
So with no further ado:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter (at room temp)
1 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 Tbsp smoked sea salt
(1) In a small pot, bring the cream to a simmer and keep hot on low heat
(2) In a little ramekin or jar, add smoked salt to the hot sauce, so it can dissolve.
(3) Cut parchment paper to size to fit an 8×8 pan and butter the paper. This is important, so the caramels will come off the paper when cool.
(4) In a large pot, heat the sugar and honey over medium-high heat until they are dissolved, stirring occasionally. Once the sugar is dissolved, it needs to reach a temperature of 305F. Do not stir while you wait for the temp to be reached. Fine Cooking recommends that you brush the sides of the pot with cold water on a pastry brush, so no sugar crystallizes there. Also, clean your wooden spoon so no more sugar is on it when you use it in the next step. I followed their process to the dot, and I recommend you do the same, cause the caramels came out pretty perfect every time.
(5) When the temperature of the sugar reaches 305 F add the butter (cut into several pieces, not in one big chunk, as the addition of the ingredients makes the mass bubble violently), stir, and add the hot cream. Stir carefully until the butter is melted and all is mixed in evenly.
(6) The temperature of the mixture will drop with the addition of the cream and butter. Continue to carefully stir, while you wait for it to rise back up to 250F (over medium heat). As soon as the temperature of the mixture hits 250F take the pot of the heat and fill into the pan – do not scrape the pot – this will compromise the texture of the caramels due to crystallization. Nothing hinders you to scrape or lick the pot later!
(7) The parchment paper might not perfectly fit the pan, I used the tip of a knife to gently push down the paper around the edges after I poured the caramel, as to get an even layer.
(8) Let cool for 5-10 min until you can see the top of the caramel setting. Stir the hot sauce to make sure the salt is dissolved. With a tablespoon, gently distribute the hot sauce over the caramel, then take a knife and carefully cut the sauce into the surface. Let cool for 2 hours, when the pan is cool, refrigerate for 30 min.
(9) With a sharp knife, cut the caramel into sizes that are to your liking and wrap them in wax paper.
Voila – Honey Hot Sauce Caramels!
They supposedly keep four weeks in an airtight container, I cannot say anything in regards cause none of the batches I made lasted longer than a couple of days before they had all been devoured.
At Scrumptious Pantry we preserve the exciting flavors of rare heirloom fruit and vegetables and precious heirloom seeds. Delicious varieties put up in gourmet condiments and artisan preserves for you to enjoy at home! Because Heirloom is much bigger than just Heirloom tomatoes.