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Salted Chocolate Caramels-- anyone try these?

I'm thinking of making these from the December Gourmet. Does anyone have any tips to share? This will be my first experience making caramel.

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  1. Yes! We've made them 3 times, and they came out fantastic. We used fleur de sel instead of flaked sea salt, and Callebaut 55%.

    When they were cool, we wrapped them in colored foil and gave them as gifts. Let me know if you have any specific questions about the recipe.

    1. Just made them the other night--they're fantastic!

      1. It sure didn't get very positive comments on Epicurious... TerriL and mnosyne, were yours greasy?!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Katie Nell

          Mine didn't come out greasy. There is a little shine to the caramels, but nothing separated like I read in some of the other reviews. One thing I would recommend is to heat to 255F more slowly than perhaps some of the other posters did. I think the recipe says it should take 15 minutes. By the way, after I poured the caramel into the pan, I scraped the other caramel onto wax paper to eat later, and it was really good. It was harder than the cut caramels and tasted a little like the See's chocolate suckers.

        2. I thought the responses on Epi were not sooo bad-- everyone liked the flavor. I will report back on the greasiness factor. I am a bit concerned that greasiness would be a problem for the adorable tissue wrapping I had planned...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Procrastibaker

            I usually try not to even look at those reviews, but sometimes they draw me in! I'm very interested in trying these because A.) I tried the double chocolate caramel recipe on Epicurious and they didn't turn out, although they tasted good and B.) I just got the perfect pot for candy making!

            1. re: Katie Nell

              my caramel is forming as I write, so will report later this afternoon. i got some very cute tissue paper for this so I'll be PO'd if they don't turn out. cross your fingers! what kind of pot did you get? i'm using a 4 qt all clad b/c the next size up i have is 12 qt (my 8qt le creuset's enamel cracked and it's in the return process). and did you ever try the madeleines again?

              1. re: Procrastibaker

                I actually got this pan from Crate and Barrel: http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family.... It's actually fairly heavy, but what I love about it, is that it has a pour spout, so I thought it would be perfect for candies... it also has really high sides. And no, I haven't attempted madeleines again. I was going to try a recipe from Dorie's cookbook since it is the cookbook of the month, but all of hers are baking powder recipes, so I don't know! I'm for sure going to try them after Christmas... I'm not sure if they would go over well with my extended family members- too plain, ya know?! ;-


                (I'm a procrastibaker too!! ;-) Please do report back!

          2. Oooh. That does look good for candy. I would love a pan with a pour spout-- we just upgraded all of our saucepans (wedding), but I didn't think to get one with a spout. The four qt. worked great. I am about to make myself sick on the dregs of the caramel that I scraped onto my silpat per TerriL's rec. My dregs are really soft, though, so I hope my caramel sets up OK! Looks good so far. It better because I accidentally spent 10 bucks on fleur de sel-- was in a rush and thought it said 2.49 but it really said 9.49! Combined with three bars of good chocolate, these little guys are not a bargain.

            Oh, and as for the mads, I was thinking of trying to dip them in chocolate next time. Though I gotta say that people have been loving them-- esp. with the brown butter and some orange zest. But they are kinda subtle for the holidays and don't last all that long.

            Procrastibaking is better than vegging in front of the TV, right?? ;)

            1. Hi all,
              Just wanted to report back... The caramels turned out perfectly. I am so pleased. I let them cool overnight just to see if they'd set up a bit more and sure enough they did. Wouldn't want them any firmer or they would get stuck in your teeth. They are not greasy, though they do have a slight caramelly sheen. I don't know much about chocolate, but could it have to do with the type used? I use Vallrhona 57 percent (don't usually use anything quite that fancy, but the bars were on sale). I also took TerriL's advice and made sure to take 15 min. getting things up to temp. Now I just have to make cute little tissue and wax paper wrappers for 64 candies. What was I thinking?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Procrastibaker

                I was concerned about the greasiness reports for the Gourmet recipe, so I chose to make the caramel recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. He gives chocolate caramels as a variation on the regular caramels, and says that you can replace the butter in the regular recipe with chocolate, as it will still be plenty rich, so that's what I did.

                His recipe is different as you add everything at once--cream, sugar, chopped chocolate, and corn syrup, then heat it over low heat to 245. It turned out very well, but it took for-effing-ever for it to reach that stage. I think the whole process took me over two hours (I had budgeted about a half hour). Plus you have to stir it as it heats. I eventually turned the heat up to about medium after I got it to 225 and it had hung out there for a long time, and that seems to work OK.

                The resulting caramels seem to be plenty rich, and are probably chocolaty-er than the ones with butter. They aren't at all greasy. Due to the time that it took to make them, I'm not sure that I want to try that recipe again, though.

                1. re: Nettie

                  I've made used the caramel recipes in HTCE - both the plain and chocolate - several times - and it never took an inordinate amount of time to reach the called-for temperature. Two hours? That's really weird. I don't remember the whole cooking process ever taking more than about 20 minutes or so. IIRC, just added the chocolate to the original recipe, keeping the butter, and greasiness was not a problem.

                  I wouldn't steer anyone away from Bittman's recipe based on Nettie's experience, since it doesn't match my own.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Well, I think I wasn't being very smart about it, but I was afraid to turn the heat up too high (he does specify heating it over low heat). One thing is that I was starting with cold cream--it might have been better if I'd heated up closer to 212 before turning on the heat. Also my much-hated stove is really bad at maintaining low heat as I also have a hard time simmering, so the low heat might have been too low.

              2. I would leave the butter out of the Gourmet recipe. I think that's where the greasiness is coming from - it happened to me. The butter is supposed to go in at the end - right? - and it never seemed to incorporate with the chocolate caramel. Otherwise, they are very good. I got a little wild with the sea salt but I love Maldon.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lilyanna

                  I made these caramels yesterday, and agree on leaving the butter out. Of course, it might not have incorporated well because I forgot to add it in until after I'd poured the caramel mixture into the lined baking pan, so I just added it then. Oops! A bit greasy, but still good, especially with a little extra sea salt sprinkled over before I wrapped them. Surprisingly easy, and it was the first time I'd ever made candy of any sort!

                2. Well, I'm not sure about totally omitting the butter. I does add to both the taste and texture. Maybe cut to 1.5 T? I really didn't find my batch greasy-- they are if you hold the caramel in your warm hand, but I think that's to be expected. Anyone have any tips on wrapping these? Mine were pretty soft (were others' more firm?) and it was a major pain to cut and wrap them.

                  1. Mine weren't greasy (like the last poster said, they did feel a bit if you held them in your hand, but I can't imagine anyone describing them as greasy), and buttery-ness is an essential part of caramel-I'd be afraid to leave it out.

                    Mine needed to set up overnight before I could really cut and wrap them. Next time I would wait more than 10 minutes before adding the salt, since it sort of dissolved on top more than I would have liked.

                    1. Cutting in half seems right...and adding it in sooner, closer to the end of cooking time, so that it has more time to incorporate.

                      1. Next day report: While I thought these were pretty good initally, I stuck them in the fridge overnight to see if they'd firm up a bit. They did, and somehow I feel like their flavor improved, too. I cannot stop eating these now and while I wasn't sure I wanted to give these away as gifts when I first made them, I think I will now.