I had a nice, leisurely brunch with a good friend today. It was one of those enjoyable, meandering conversations that could have easily continued for several hours. After we parted ways, I found myself thinking of several more things I wanted to talk to my friend about––what was the name of that running app she mentioned? Avon Barksdale is in the new Creed movie! When can we do another double date?
After I returned home, I started in on my holiday baking: melting butter, whipping meringue, and rough-chopping chocolate, all the while thinking about the incredibly rich and meaningful female friendships I’ve had over the years. There is a beautiful passage in an Anaïs Nin book that I love: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” She articulates so elegantly how different friends show us a side of ourselves that we hadn’t previously tapped into. They see our potential, and challenge us within a safe space. By the time I started cleaning up my post-baking mess, I found myself reminiscing about my college days and all of the incredible friendships I made throughout those four years. Those women saw something in me before I really knew who I was or how I wanted to live my life. Through their eyes, I learned so much about myself.
I haven’t made sea salt caramels, or any other candy, since the day I closed my business two and a half years ago. I wasn’t sure if I would remember how to make them, but it all came back to me. My stepdad has asked me to make these for him ever since I closed my business, and he will finally get some for Christmas this year! These caramels are rich, buttery, chewy, and with just the right amount of sea salt to make them really pop.
Sea Salt Caramels
- 12 oz. sugar
- 12 oz. evaporated milk
- 5 oz. heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean split
- 10 oz. corn syrup
- 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Line 8x8 pan with parchment paper.
- Combine sugar, evaporated milk, heavy cream, and vanilla bean in a large pot, and cook over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and add corn syrup. Stir to incorporate.
- Insert candy thermometer and clip onto the side of pot.
- When temperature reaches 230 F degrees, add butter and stir until melted. Mixture will start to thicken and darken in color. Turn heat down to low, and stir frequently, scraping bottom of the pan every once in a while.
- When temperature reaches 240 F degrees, remove pot from heat, add sea salt, and stir until combined.
- Pour caramel into parchment-lined pan. Using a spatula, smooth the caramel out, making sure it is distributed evenly throughout pan. Cool completely, and cut into 1x1-inch squares.