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Salt is becoming almost as ubiquitous in chocolate candy as sugar and cream. That's because salt is a flavor booster like no other, whether in a sweet or savory dish. Here, the salt imparts a delightful counterpoint to the the richly sweet caramel and all of it becomes a splendid symphony of flavors and textures with the addition of chocolate.
Whether you dip them in milk or dark chocolate, these soft, slightly salty caramels are to die for.
Dominique and Cindy Dube have long been known as pioneers in the field of unusual flavor combinations that marry well with chocolate. But in their book Chocolate: More than 50 Decadent Recipes (Whitecap 2009), they're reworking the classics, as they've done in this recipe for soft caramels dipped in chocolate. The addition of sea salt, or fleur de sel, takes them to another level. A word of caution to anyone who hasn't made caramels before: the sugar base becomes extremely hot and will boil vigorously when you add the cream mixture, so use a deep pan to prevent spills and burns.
1 cup (250ml) whipping cream
5 tbsps.(75g) salted butter
1 tsp. (5ml) fleur de sel
1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsps. (380g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60g) corn syrup
1/3 cup (80ml) water
1 tsp. (5ml) fresh lemon juice
Tempered dark or milk chocolate for enrobing (see instructions)
Line and 8-inch (20cm) square pan with plastic wrap. Combine whipping cream, butter and fleur de sel in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In another saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water and cook on high heat (without stirring) until a candy thermometer reads 360°F (185°C) or mixture turns a dark caramel color. This can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your stove and the kind of saucepan you are using.
Remove from the heat and, standing back in case mixture splatters, stir in cream mixture with a long-handled spoon. Return saucepan to high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer reaches 250°F (120°C). Remove from the heat. Add lemon juice and stir until well combined. Pour into prepared pan and let set overnight.
Unmold caramel from pan, peel off plastic wrap, and cut into desired shapes using a lightly oiled knife. Place caramels on a tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Using a fork, dip caramels into tempered chocolate and slide on another tray lined with a silicone mat. Optionally while chocolate is still wet, finish with a few grains of fleur de sel. Let set for about 4 hours, then store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 weeks.
Chocolate: More than 50 Decadent Recipes© 2009 Dominique and Cindy Duby. Photo © Dominique and Cindy Duby. All rights reserved.