Chardonnay Smoked Fleur de Sel Caramels with Jameson dipped in dark chocolate

Written by Jamie on January 07, 2012

Dipped

For Christmas this year, I made Fleur de Sel caramels for my friends and family.  Its actually quite simple to make with the right tools.  One of the essential tools is a gas stove.  Using an electric stove took 2 - 3 times longer, as the heat is more uneven and difficult to control.  Other essential tool include a candy thermometer, a chocolate thermometer, chocolate dipping tools, 1 and 1.5/2 quart sauce pans.

Wrapper_caramels
This recipe is based on a recipe by David Lebovitz, and utilizes brown rice syrup instead of corn syrup.  Additionally, I tested several liquors and salts, and ultimately determined that the best combination is Jameson and Chardonnay Smoked Fleur de Sel.
 
The caramels can be wrapped in cellophane or wax paper, or dipped in chocolate.  This recipe makes about 48 candies.




INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 tsp Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon Chardonnay Smoked Fleur de Sel 
  • 1/2 cup (160 g) brown rice syrup (I used Lundberg brown rice syrup, purchased at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g), total, salted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1 lb bittersweet dark chocolate
  • Wax paper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line a 9-inch loaf pan with foil
    1. Cover the foil with butter or spray the inside with cooking spray.  Or both.
  2. In a 1 quart sauce pan, heat the cream with 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan with the Jameson and 1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel until the mixture begins to boil. 
    1. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the syrup.
  3. In a 1.5 to 2 quart sauce pan, fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the rice syrup with the sugar, and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. 
    1. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir is as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots.
      1. The mixture will get dark brown as it approaches 300 degrees.  This is ok, as long as the mixture isn't smoking.
    2. Cook until the syrup reaches 309 F.
    3. Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture, until smooth.
    4. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 255 - 257 F.
      1. 255 - Softer
      2. 257 - Slightly chewier but still really soft
      3. Also, the mixture can become dark brown as the temperature approaches 240.  This is ok.
    5. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the cubes of butter, until it’s melted and the mixture smooth.
      1. Remove thermometer
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and wait ten minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the fleur de sel over the top. Set on a cool rack and let cool completely. 
    1. Once cool, lift out the foil with the caramel
  5. Remove foil when ready to cut the caramels.
    1. Wrap caramels in waxed paper or cellophane or dip caramels in chocolate
    2. The caramel slab can remain uncut for a number of days.  If not processing the caramels immediately, its best to leave the caramel as a slab, as the cut caramels will loose their shape quickly.
  6. To dip the caramels in chocolate, temper the chocolate:
    1. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper
    2. Put 1/2 to 2/3 of chocolate in a double boiler outfitted with a chocolate thermometer
      1. Warm chocolate until it melts
      2. Do not exceed 120 F
      3. Constantly stir
    3. When the chocolate has melted, remove from heat
      1. Add unmelted chocolate, and stir, stir stir!
      2. Bring mixture to 80-85 F
    4. Return mixture to the heat and warm until 89 F, then remove from the heat.
      1. Stir constantly until removed from heat.
    5. Put caramels into the chocolate mixture, and fish them out with a fork or chocolate tool, placing them on the prepared cookie sheet
      1. Try to scoop out as little extra chocolate as possible, as it will harden on the bottom of your chocolate.
      2. Sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel on top of the candies after they have been fished out
      3. Allow 10-15 minutes for chocolate to harden without disturbing

 

HPIM3124 HPIM3133

Please note that the temperature and humidity in the room can affect this recipe.  If the temperature goes below 60 F, a chocolate bloom can form. See the 2 chocolates that are off color in the picture on the left.  This happened because I kept this sheet of candies near a drafty window after the temperature had dropped during the evening.  Also, notice the awesome packaging that was procured at Chocolate Treasures!!

 

LINKAGE

  1. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/01/salted-butter-caramels/
  2. http://baking911.com/learn/ingredients/chocolate/melt-or-temper/how-chocolate-tempering-works

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