In addition to being less than crafty, I’m also a little scared of anything that requires a candy thermometer.

Okay, so a lot scared. As in, when I see a recipe with “thermometer” in the instructions, I just keep on going.

However, when I was assigned Lynne’s blog Cafe LynnLu for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I knew I was going to have to put my fear of candy-making aside.  Along with the myriad of wonderful recipes and absolutely breathtaking photographs, I stumbled on her recipe for espresso caramels.  Attempting homemade caramels have been on my to-do list for quite a while, so I decided to break out my candy thermometer and give ’em a try.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can find one at most retail/grocery stores for less than $10.  And let me tell you–after making these, it’s totally worth the few dollars you’ll spend.  Doodle and the Tall Boy–notorious NON-candy eaters–both went wild over this stuff.

I can’t say that I blame them.  I did, too.

I did alter Lynne’s recipe slightly.  I didn’t have any espresso powder on hand, so I swapped it out with vanilla bean powder instead.  And, since I had some sea salt in my pantry, I sprinkled that on the top.  Seriously, this was maybe the best candy I’ve ever eaten.

And I made it myself!  Score!

If you’re looking for make-ahead recipes for the holidays, put this one on your list.  These candies will keep for about 2-weeks in an airtight container, and are a perfect way to oooh and ahhh your friends and family.

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels
 
A little extra: melt some of the caramels in a double-boiler and add enough maple stryp to make a pancake syrup mixture.
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing foil-lined pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • sea salt, for dusting
Method
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Generously butter the sides and bottom of the foil. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter with vanilla in a small saucepan. When butter has melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean powder to combine.
  3. Combine heavy cream, both sugars, and corn syrup in a heavy, deep saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and stir constantly with a log-handled wooden spoon until sugars have dissolved and the mixture begins to boil.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Continue to sitr until mixture reaches 240-242 degrees (soft ball stage), about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in reserved butter and vanilla mixture.. Stir until well-combined and pour into prepared pan. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
  5. Lift caramel out by the foil and invert on a slightly oiled surface. Peel off foil, and using an oiled knife, slice and cut the caramels. I made mine about ½-inch by ½ inch.
  6. Wrap caramels in parchment papers immediately as the candies will begin to spread.

Have a great Monday, and thanks for stopping by!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!

To see other great recipes from Secret Recipe Club members, visit the links below!