fleur de sel agave caramels
Last week was the week of holiday parties both out on the town and at people homes. This year, I decided I wanted to branch out and do a little something different from the usual wine in hand present and thought that I would try my hand at candy making. I’ve never used my candy thermometer for much and thought this would be the perfect use for it not to mention that I’ve been jonesin’ to make some caramels ever since making the burnt caramel sauce awhile back.
With that said, the reason that I held back on making them for so long is because every single recipe I’ve seen for caramels involves corn syrup and while I’m not going to go all Michael Pollan here, I try to avoid this stuff whenever possible. So, when I saw this recipe for a fleur de sel caramel involving agave nectar, it was a done deal. The host of our next Christmas party was getting these. (Spoiler alert: she loved them)
If I can leave you with any piece of advice on making these it would be to do this the night before. The setting period is what really broke me on this. You would think I would’ve learned by now that shortcuts don’t always work out so well. I had about 20 minutes between the time I took the caramel off the heat to when I needed to LEAVE for this party. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty nor was it as great as it could’ve been–thank god for the freezer and a husband who’s willing to pull the car up and wait while his wife runs around like a chicken without her head on trying to get it together.
fleur de sel agave caramels
from Piece of Cake
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups cane sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup light agave nectar (I used dark and all was good)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse fleur de sel salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons dark rum
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract (see note)
- Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt together the butter, sugar, cream and agave nectar.
- Bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
- Clip a candy thermometer to the pot and reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches 248 degrees (this ended up taking me the better part of 45 minutes, so plan accordingly.)
- As you see the temperature creeping towards 248, stir in the salt and the rum.
- When the caramel hits 248, pull the pot from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the caramel into the prepared pan set over a wire rack and let it cool, undisturbed, at room temperature overnight, or if you’re in a rush, 30 minutes at room temperature and another 30 minutes or so in the refrigerator until the caramel is very firm. (Or if you’re me, 25 minutes in the freezer and then live with the consequences)
- Line a cutting surface with a sheet of parchment paper and turn the caramel slab out onto it.
- Use a large sharp knife to cut the caramel into neat, even pieces.
- Lightly sprinkle the caramels with more sea salt and wrap them in squares of parchment or waxed paper.
- Store at room temperature.