Salted caramels

(Styling/Denise Drower Swidey; Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)
February 10, 2010

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Makes about 63

You need a candy thermometer to make these. Clip it to the side of a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Fleur de sel is an aromatic sea salt available in specialty markets, often sprinkled on pasta, roast potatoes, or sauteed meats just before serving.

Butter (for the pan and knife)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon iodized salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Scatter 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel in the bottom. Set the pan on a heatproof surface.

2. In a large, high-sided saucepan, combine the butter, granulated and brown sugars, corn syrup, and cream. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, for 4 minutes or until the mixture comes to a boil.

3. Stop stirring and let the mixture boil steadily for 5 to 6 minutes or until it reaches exactly 250 degrees on a candy thermometer (this is the high end of the “firm ball’’ stage).

4. Remove the pan from the heat and quickly stir in the iodized salt and vanilla. Immediately tip the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Quickly sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel.

5. Let the syrup cool for 20 to 30 minutes or until it almost reaches room temperature. Loosen the sides of the caramel slab with a metal spatula and lift the slab onto a cutting board. Butter a sharp knife. Make 8 horizontal cuts and 6 vertical cuts in the slab to form 63 pieces.

6. Cut rectangles of waxed paper into 3-by-6-inch pieces. Set a piece of caramel in each piece and twist the ends to secure them. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Denise Drower Swidey