The History of Sea Salt Caramels
Sea salt caramels are a new twist on a long-standing American tradition. The most prolific candy-makers in American history launched their careers making caramels. Milton S. Hershey started Lancaster Caramel Company. Hershey was seeking candy coatings for his caramels when he first came across chocolate. Hershey sold Lancaster Caramels to The American Caramel Company in 1900 for $1 million (equal to $28,600,000 today).
Even before caramel came to America, it was of the world’s oldest candies, dating back to 1000 AD. Candy is certainly of Arabic invention, stemming from the word Qandi. Some say caramel is also of Arabic invention when they boiled sugar in water making kurat al milh, or “sweet ball of salt.” It was later given the name caramel by the Spanish stemming from the Latin word callamellus, “little reed” or sugar cane.
Each ingredient plays an important part in the flavor and texture of the final product. Evaporated milk and heavy cream keep caramel from turning into hard candy. Corn syrup adds to the sweetness. For variation in flavor chocolate, butterscotch, and even molasses or maple extract can be substituted for vanilla.
It is important not to over or under heat the caramel, doing so will affect the texture and flavor. As an alternative to using a candy thermometer, the temperature can be tested by dropping a bit of the mixture into cold water, if it forms a small pliable (flexible and easily bent or molded) ball remove the mixture from heat.
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 can evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbsp. AztecSeaSalt™
1. Line 8” x 8” baking sheet with parchment paper and brush or spray lightly with oil and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan bring evaporated milk, heavy cream and AztecSeaSalt™ to a boil over medium heat and set aside.
3. In a large saucepan over high heat, stir together sugar, light corn syrup and water until sugar is dissolved.
4. Boil without stirring (swirl entire saucepan to ensure even heating) until golden brown.
5. Lower heat to a simmer and carefully pour the cream mixture into the large saucepan stirring constantly until mixture reaches 250 degrees (measuring temperature with a candy thermometer) be patient, this can take up to 15 minutes.
6. Pour mixture into baking sheet and allow to cool completely (approximately 2 hours).
7. After half and hour of cooling, sprinkle caramel with more AztecSeaSalt™, as desired.
8. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
As a Gift
Sea Salt Caramels make a great gift for the holidays. You can wrap the bite-sized pieces in parchment paper and twist the ends to seal. You can use decorative packaging for an impressive presentation. We like to fill a cellophane bag with pieces of bite-sized sea salt caramels wrapped in parchment paper twisted at the ends. Then we tie a bow to close the bag using wired ribbon in a festive color.
Leave us a comment with your favorite sweet treat recipes made with sea salt!