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Probably not a big deal for 99.9% of you, but I finally made really good caramel candy. Thanks Theo!

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Joined: Dec 12, 2005


Posted to Thread #28945 at 10:45 am on Aug 19, 2016

Used Seattle's "Theo Chocolate" book; scaled-down recipe ended up with 64 1" square pieces, then coated with tempered Callebaut 60% dark chocolate. Finished caramels are 1/2" thick.

They would have come out slightly thicker if I'd used a 7x7" square pan, but needs must. I used an 8x8" lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Have pan ready!

I wanted to use a pint of organic heavy cream, so the recipe isn't exactly half; just scaled down for 2 Cups of heavy cream. But it still worked perfectly using their methodology. I only made two minor changes: added more vanilla bean seeds and 1/4 tsp Piment d'Espelette to give it some happy zing. Theo sells a Ghost Chili Pepper Caramel version, but I was too intimidated to go that far out on the Scoville Scale limb.

Oh, they garnish with sea salt after coating, but I don't like that salty-sweet thing, so I just added some salt to the caramel.

2 C heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 C light corn syrup
1/4 tsp Piment d'Espelette
2 C MINUS 2 TBL granulated sugar
3 TBL + 1 tsp butter

[Mar's Note: Instructions are VERY clear in the book. If you've ever been scarred for life by failed caramel attempts, this is the book for you.]

Split bean, scrap out seeds, add to cream along pepper and salt. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Put syrup in bowl and strain heavy cream mixture over syrup. Have ready to add to hot sugar mixture.

Using a heavy pot over medium heat (I used a 3.5 QT Calphalon non-stick pot and would like to thank the Calphalon company for creating a pot where melted sugar just ran down the sides and didn't crystallize. Thank you!), start with half a cup of sugar and swirl until it melts. Then add another half a cup and wait for that to melt, continuing until all the sugar has been added. When it just begins to smoke (it will have darkened), start adding the cream 1/2 cup at a time, stirring vigorously. Wait at least one minute before adding another half of a cup of cream. You don't want the temperature to drop too much. When all the cream is added, raise the heat slightly, add a thermometer and boil until it reaches EXACTLY 254 degrees. This results in a caramel that has a slight stretch to it.

As soon as the temperature is reached, pull off the heat and vigorously add the butter, then pour into prepared pan.
Set aside for minimum of TWELVE HOURS. Yes, you read that right...after all that work you are NOT going to be allowed to eat it. But it will be SO PERFECT and SO SHINY and SO CARAMEL-Y-ISH that you will go to bed happy and dream dreams where your filling are NOT pulled out by overly sticky caramel.

Next day, cut into squares and coat with tempered chocolate. Or not.

This definitely has a bit of subtle, sneak-up-on-your-taste-buds bite to it, so skip the additional ingredient if you want regular but still perfect caramel.

PS: The caramel lifted off perfectly from the non-stick aluminum foil, but then I put it down on my large wooden pastry board to cut. It tended to stick a bit to that after I pressed down to cut into square, so place the block on a Silpat or marble slab or other non-stick device so you won't need to run a knife under each and every friggin' piece to lift before coating.


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