I love caramel and being able to make your own is just.....so ahh! great! It may be a bit of a tricky and bubbly process, but it really is all worth it in the end. (even if they do go a bit beyond golden brown). I had such an issue with these caramels, they got a bit overly golden, but that didn't change the flavor too much, it had just a richer taste I think. I blame it all on the candy thermometer...It didn't sit right in the pan and it didn't touch the caramel properly and therefore the temperature increased rather slowly. The pot I had used was a little bit too big. Next time i'll use a smaller one and place the thermometer in properly, then i'll probably get those lovely golden yellow brown caramels. Delicious!
(make eight 1-inch caramels)
Recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Desserts
1 cup golden syrup (vaaleaa siirappia)
2 cups sugar
3/8 tsp fine salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinder, 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
A candy thermometer
A 9-inch square baking pan
Line the sides and the bottom of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease lightly.
Combine the golden syrup, sugar and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup around the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. ( Meanwhile rinse the spatula or spoon, before using it again). Uncover the pan and wash down the sides onces more. Attach the candythermometer to the pan without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook uncovere and without stirring until the mixture reached 305 F. In the meantime combine the cream and the ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a saucepan and heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pot to keep the cream hot.
When the mixture reaches 305 F turn of the heat and mix in the chunks of butter. Gradually stir in the hot cream. It will bubble and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust the heat so it boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thicken syrup is dissolved at the bottom of the pan and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 245 F. The cook stirring constantly until it reaches 260 F for soft, chewy caramels, or 265 F for firmer chewy caramels.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour into the prepared pan. Let it set for 4-5 hours until set or overnight.
Lift the pan liner from the pan and and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. peel of the foil and cut the caramels with a oiled knife. wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.
You can add anything to your caramels to give them a new flavor, such as Fleur de Sel, cardamom, cinnamon, saffron or anything else.