These caramels are easy and are the perfect hostess gift for your next party or for a holiday gift! You can omit the chocolate and just have wonderful caramels or you can dip in dark, milk or white chocolate and sprinkle the tops with sea salt. Make a batch during the holiday season, place in small candy boxes and your shopping is complete.
- Yield: 5 dozen caramels
- Line a 9-by13 inch pan with parchment paper or foil; grease with butter or oil; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add heavy cream and the seeds from the vanilla bean pod; discard the pod.
- Bring vanilla cream mixture to a boil and remove from heat.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir corn syrup and granulated sugar together until the sugar is completely moistened.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat and cook, without stirring, until mixture reaches 305 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
- Add butter and salt, stirring constantly.
- Slowly pour warm vanilla bean cream into sugar mixture, whisking constantly. It may bubble up and steam as you whisk in the cream, so be sure to do it slowly and carefully.
- Continue to cook the mixture over medium heat until candy thermometer reaches 248 degrees F, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Let caramel stand a few minutes to allow bubbling to subside, then pour into prepared pan.
- Allow caramel to cool at room temperature at least 5 hours before cutting.
- Once cooled, cut into 1.25 inch squares. If caramel seems too soft to get a clean cut, place in refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting.
- Melt chocolate gently over a water bath. Once melted, place a caramel square on a fork and dip the squares into the chocolate, tap off the excess and place dipped caramel to a baking sheet covered with parchment or wax paper.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.