It’s been a rough year, not gonna lie. My office has had my back through it all. My boss was super cool about letting me work from home. HR has been flexible when I needed time off. And when the shit hit the fan, they made sure I knew they were in full support of me, even though someone was making our office a mess.
So I made them caramels. Because this is how I say thank you back.
This recipe (which is tweaked a little from what I made because I needed to make it more flexible) makes one silicon flat of 1″ brownie bite size candies.
- 170 grams of butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 200 grams of sugar (1 cup)
- One 14oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 75 grams of golden syrup (3 tbl)
- 1/2 tsp salt (add 1/2 tsp more if using unsalted butter)
- 1 tbl vanilla
- thick bottomed pan (do not use non-stick)
- silicon mold or tray to pour the caramel into
- candy thermometer or spatula with thermometer (optional)
- something to wrap them in (like cellophane wraps) — 3×5″ squares of wax paper or freezer paper also work
- nerves of steel
Add butter and sugar to a sauce pan on low heat and stir until melted. Don’t rush this! Your mixture will be grainy if you don’t let the sugar and butter fully incorporate.
Once it’s fully blended, add the salt and fully melt it. Then add sweetened milk and syrup and raise heat to medium/high. Stir constantly until it boils, then drop the heat to medium (or lower). You want it to bubble a little but not boil. I call this the “Laughing Hand” Stage.
Keep stirring for at least 10 minutes. Don’t slack off, if you do it will burn! What you’re looking for here is literally “Hey! That looks like caramel!” You want that rich, golden, color. If you have a spatula with a thermometer, you want to hit 240 Fahrenheit. Don’t go over 250 or it’ll burn. Keep it at 240 or 245 for at least 1 minute. If you don’t have the thermometer, do your best to eyeball it.
Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir well and pour into your molds (put them in a baking tray to keep them level. If you don’t have a mold, a flat pan will do. I use a silicon mold that makes 1″ squares and chop ’em in half later.
Chill on the counter for 30 min, then toss in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Pop and wrap 🙂
If you use unsalted butter, you may need more salt. It helps cut the sweet a lot.
Want to do something extra crazy? Like to experiment? Let’s have fun!
- Sprinkle with fresh ground sea salt when it’s warm. I like to do that just before I put them in the fridge.
- Replace some (or all) of the white sugar with brown. Be careful, the more brown you add, the wetter the mixture and the longer the cooking.
- Can’t find golden syrup? Don’t want to use corn syrup? Try agave or honey. Sorghum will work in a pinch.
- Cannabutter? Canna Yes! I recommend using at least 1/4th brown sugar if you do, unless you’re a fan of blanching your cannabis.
- Caramel sauce? Add a little extra liquid. Use 60 ml (1/4th cup) heavy cream and then cook it less. Aim for around 200-230 F. It’s amazing with blue cheese. No lie!
If you want to make a double batch, the ingredients change in a different way. Having experimented around a lot, this is what I suggest:
- 225 grams butter (1 cup / 2 sticks)
- 200 grams brown sugar (1 cup)
- 280 grams white (caster/superfine) sugar (1 1/4th cup)
- 350 grams golden syrup (1 cup)
- One 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp salt (add 1/2 tsp more if using unsalted butter)
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Now you’ll notice I didn’t double everything. This comes out somewhat less creamy but also way more gooey, so be careful about melting and incorporating it properly. You could do a straight up double, but it’s harder to quality control there for the lazy home cook. Also this will take longer to set up, and you may want to toss it in the freezer for a half hour before popping and cutting.
If your caramel doesn’t set up, you didn’t cook it long enough. Good news, though! Dump it all back in a pan and cook it more!
Did your butter separate? Remove from heat and whisk like a hamster on a wheel until it recombines!
If it’s too sticky and you don’t want to re-melt them, toss them in cocoa powder before you wrap them.
Wrappers not staying closed? Make sure you twist the ends in opposite directions.