13 February 2012

Vanilla Caramels with Sea Salt

It's school holidays which means lots of time in the kitchen with the little chefs. Yesterday we whipped up a batch of my favourite caramels - the recipe contains sea salt so I thought it would be fun (and pretty) to pop some on top. These would make fabulous gifts, wrapped individually in wax paper and popped into a decorative box.

When you're making the caramel you can use a candy thermometer if you've got one - I don't, so I just use the 'softball' method - which means popping a drop of the mixture into very cold water and the caramel is ready when you can roll the drop into a soft ball.

Vanilla Caramels with Sea Salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  1. Bring butter, cream, vanilla essence, vanilla bean and salt to a boil in a pan, set aside to cool
  2. Line a 20cm baking tin with baking paper and butter the paper
  3. Boil sugar, syrup and water in a large heavy bottom pan until sugar is dissolved, don't stir at this stage, just swirl mixture until sugar dissolves. Cook until a light caramel colour
  4. Remove pod from the cream mixture and carefully stir into to the caramel mixture, it will splatter and is scalding hot, so be very careful (this is one job the little chefs didn't get to do)
  5. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until the mixture is at soft ball stage - this can take anything from 20 minutes to 40 minutes, so I start testing the caramel at 15 minutes. It's trial and error, if it's too soft the mixture won't set properly (but you can pop it back into the pan and try again), if it's too hard, it will still taste fabulous, it will just be less chewy than intended
  6. Once ready pour the caramel into the baking tin, sprinkle with sea salt and leave until completely cold, cut into 2cm squares


  1. first time here ...glad to follow you ... very yummy vanilla caramels very tempting too.