Soft Vanilla Bean Caramels

Sourced from Food and Wine Magazine December 2013

Chef: Chris Hanmer of CH Pâtisserie in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Total Time:  45 min plus 4 hr cooling

Makes about 2 pounds

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Coat a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving 1 inch of overhang on each of the long sides.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar with the cream, corn syrup and vanilla bean and seeds and bring to a boil.  Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 233 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 13 minutes.  Carefully whisk in the butter and salt and cook, stirring constantly, until the caramel is golden and reached 244 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes longer.  Carefully pick out and discard the vanilla bean.  Immediately pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan and let cool at room temperature until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Holding the parchment paper overhang , transfer the cooled caramel to a work surface.  Using a sharp knife, cut the firmed-up caramel into squares.  Wrap each caramel in a square of parchment paper or a candy wrapper and twist the ends to seal.  Serve, store or gift the caramels.

The receipt also says the you can adorn the caramels with different edible accents that you can add on top as the caramel is cooling or just after you cut it into squares.  Some recommendations are gold leaf or sea salt.  The last time I made this recipe I used pink Himalayan salt for the top which was a yummy and pretty accent.