Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chocolate Cashew Caramels with Fleur de Sel

 My goal over the holidays was to try recipes that I could never attempt while at school. I probably printed out about 20 recipes and only got around to about 6 of them. Unfortunately and fortunately I worked a TON over break so I didn't have as much free time that I had initially hoped to play around in the kitchen. I didn't even have time to test out the ice cream maker I got for christmas (sooo excited about that though. anticipate a million ice cream and gelato posts over the summer)

So one of the recipes I was dying to attempt was homemade caramel. Its tricky and everyone I spoke to about it said that they failed several times before they got it right. Of course that made me even more eager to give it a try. I think my caramel came out really well and the cashew caramels were a hit on christmas day. The caramel texture actually changed though when the cashews were added for some reason. Everyone said they like it better but it didn't exactly have that sticky caramel texture that I was looking for (which I actually had achieved perfectly before the cashews were mixed in - I guess some scientific kitchen chemistry stuff was going on that I haven't really figured out yet). Everyone was asking me for the recipe and how I made them though so whatever happened I guess worked out even better than I had hoped!

Salted Chocolate Cashew Caramels
*Homemade Caramel
Unsalted Cashews
Semisweet Baker’s chocolate
Fleur de Sel (or finishing salt)

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare a glass pan (I used a 9x9 square) by either liberally spraying it with cooking spray or rubbing the inside with butter. Some people suggest wax paper but that turned out disastrous for me because it almost permanently stuck to the hardened caramel. I suggest a glass pan as well because it is the easier for removing the finished product.  
*this step is unnecessary if you plan on making your candies all at once. I broke my process up into several days but it can definitely be done in one or two

In a pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the sugars and corn syrup and stir well. Lastly add the evaporated milk and whipping cream.

Stir continuously until the mixture starts to boil. Now STOP stirring and let it boil until the mixture has reached 245 degrees on your candy thermometer. It will be slow starting at first but the last minute or two is the most crucial. You must pay extremely close attention to your candy thermometer so that the caramel doesn’t burn (which is very easy to do, almost everyone burns it at least once – especially on your first try).

**at this point you can either continue to make your candy or stop and work on it another day.

> if you continue, let the caramel cool in the pot and then mix in your cashews

> If you plan to stop here and work on it later: When the caramel has reached the appropriate temperature, turn off your stove and immediately remove the pot from the heat. Then stir in the vanilla. Pour the caramel into your prepared pan. Let cool completely and cover with plastic wrap or tin foil (I used foil).


If you let your caramel cool completely, remelt it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and mix in your cashews. If you didn't wait obviously you can skip this step.

With a metal spoon scoop the caramel cashew mixture and place them on a sheet of wax paper to cool and harden. Let them cool completely because they will soften somewhat during the chocolate dipping process.

Melt the bakers chocolate in a double boiler. I personally don't know how to properly temper chocolate at this point, so I really can't give you tips on that just yet. 

Once the chocolate has cooled somewhat, dip each caramel one at a time into the melted chocolate.Remove the candy with a fork and place it back onto the wax paper. Before it has had time to harden and cool, lightly sprinkle with fleur de sel.  


  1. Those look absolutely impressive! I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your treat up.

  2. Just did it Lisa! (I hope it worked...) Thanks so much!

  3. One of my favorite combinations!

  4. Your stunning caramels will be featured on today's Sweets for a Saturday.