hot drops of bop: fleur de sel caramels

I live across the country from my parents, so visiting them requires a four hour flight and a 2 hour drive by car to get me to their doorstep. It’s a trip that I take once a year or so and this time, I made sure that I was loaded up with some Christmas treats in order to celebrate the holidays family-style, a little earlier this year. The day before my flight was scheduled to leave, I had the bright idea to make caramels….and not just any caramels, but decadent fleur de sel caramels. I’ve never tackled candy-making before other than some simple fudge and chocolate bark, so this seemed to be an adventure of epic proportions! The truth is, making candy scared me a whole lot. It seemed to be all about science and timing and temperature, so I made sure I was well prepared, as I’m a girl scout at heart. Before I began, I laid out all my ingredients and all the necessary accoutrements. A candy thermometer was purchased days in advance to keep things in check. But because I didn’t want to fail (and because I’m hopelessly superstitious), I also kept an icy glass of water by the stove so that I could double-check the candy stages by dropping the hot liquid into the water in order to test the process by feel as well as science. See, I’m all about keeping it real!

Well, my worries and advance prep were worth their weight in gold. I boiled the candy mixture and managed to get a nice caramel colour after what seemed like forever. When I ever-slowly added in the cream/butter/salt mixture to the sugar/water/syrup mix, there was a lot of bubbling up, but I kept my cool and managed to not let everything boil over. Again, it took a lot of patience to get the temperature high enough and lots of testing the softness/chewiness by adding a drop or two of the hot liquid into the cold water, but I finally reached the point where everything looked like it should. Success! When the mixture cooled off in the pan and I cut it into strips and again into small nuggets of caramel goodness, seeing the end product all wrapped up in waxed paper glory, I felt a definite sense of satisfaction! I conquered the candy making process and it was good!

And how did the caramels actually taste? Well, you’ll have to judge that for yourself. Makes a perfect gift….if you can bear to part with them, that is.

17 comments to “hot drops of bop: fleur de sel caramels”

  1. 1
    Joanne   December 6, 2006 at 8:11 pm

    hey, welcome back 🙂
    Candy making is a science for sure.
    I have never tried to make candy myself but I have watched cooking shows where candy was made and it looked difficult.

    I don’t know if I will try to make candy this season, maybe I’ll just stick to simpler things like chocolate bark, but I am impressed with your determination to succeed in candy-making…which obviously you did!

    p.s. there’s a chocolatier shop here in the city called JS Bonbons and they have this amazing sea salted caramel hot chocolate drink which is outta this world…this flavour also comes in a bonbon…ker-pow – once you bite into the chocolate shell the salty caramel bursts out with hints of salt, butter, and caramel…
    You can’t have just one, oh no 😉

  2. 2
    aria   December 6, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    i like sandwiches. me. I DO! i also like fleur de sel and caramel. the combination thereof sounds simplyentoxicating, yum! mmmmmmmmmmm.

  3. 3
    Rachel   December 7, 2006 at 6:35 am

    Yum! I always use the water in the glass method. These look so good! Maybe I should make some candy this year.

  4. 4
    Twelfthknit   December 7, 2006 at 9:33 am

    Any idea what would work as a subsitute for the corn syrup? I’m thinking Tate & Lyles Golden Syrup??
    India, UK

  5. 5
    kickpleat   December 7, 2006 at 9:35 am

    yes, aria, fleur de sel and caramel are a match made in heaven!

    thanks joanne! i’m glad to be back too! your local chocolate shop sounds amazing!! wow.

    rachel, personally, i think the glass method is the way to go as well. it’s pretty much foolproof!

    midsummer, yes, i think golden syrup would work just fine!

  6. 6
    Sara   December 7, 2006 at 11:37 am

    Those are beautiful! Good for you, mastering candy making. I’m too scared myself.

  7. 7
    Brilynn   December 7, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    I’m so impressed by people who are able to make things out of hot sugar.

  8. 8
    Tartelette   December 7, 2006 at 8:25 pm

    I really dig your recipe. I am sure your parents are going to be happy with their gift. I know I would be thrilled!

  9. 9
    jenn   December 8, 2006 at 6:03 am

    Welcome back! I need to try this!!!

  10. 10
    Fiber   December 8, 2006 at 5:01 am

    I just received some Fleur de Sel as part of a salt sampler for my birthday, and this sounds positively lovely. I am a tad scared about the whole candymaking process….

  11. 11
    Jenny   December 11, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    So I think my candy thermometer was a bit off as I followed your directions really carefully. I also tried the water thingy too, so it seemed a little runny in the cold water and I let it go a little longer and when I came back 2h later I had a slab of toffee that I had to smash!!!

    I’m assuming that I need to take into account when doing the water drop thing I need to imagine the actual final product will be a little harder than my test sample!

  12. 12
    kickpleat   December 11, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    sara & briylnn, you should totally give it a try. it’s easy and hey, you get all the candies you could ever eat!

    helene, my parents and the rest of my family loved them! i mean, it’s homemade candy! yum.

    fibre, yours look so pretty! i’m glad you delved in & had success.

    thanks jenn, glad to be back!

    jenny, i’m sorry your toffee came out too hard (tho i’m sure it’s still tasty!). when i used the glass of water, i made sure it was on the soft side, but i tasted it to be sure if felt right. did you taste yours after you dropped it in the water?

  13. 13
    Anonymous   December 19, 2006 at 9:41 am

    Thank you for this recipy. I feel enthousiastic to make it myself! Only I haven’t got a clue how much T, t, c is. Since you associated making candy with science, I would like to know where I get myself into!
    Greetings from a foodblogvisiter, Sitie from Amsterdam.

  14. 14
    kickpleat   December 19, 2006 at 10:31 am

    anon, i’m just lazy so i use shorthand. t = teaspoon, T = tablespoon, c = cup

  15. 15
    Lindsay   December 18, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    ive found the temperature depends too much on the weather and your location (altitude). the old-fashioned water test works much better for me. here in iowa, in the warmer/moister months i need to go to 248-250, but in the drier colder months that is too far and 246-247 is better.

  16. 16
    Ann   December 23, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks so much, that was my first attempt at candy making! It went brilliantly! : ) I’m so excited, this has opened mannnny a door for me

    Happy holidays

  17. 17
    Ashley   December 15, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Wow, these were amazing good! My friend and I decided to go on a cooking/ baking spree from the recipes on your blog, and I must say all of them were fantastic! (Although my friend forgot to grease the wax paper lining the dish the caramel set in…)

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