Easy on the Eyes & Tasty in the Belly: Sea Salt Caramels with Pecans


 
Pinterest is evil. I mean, I love it but it can be such a distraction when there is so much prettiness to look at. So when I spotted some pretty washi tape packaging linked from You Are My Fave which linked to Lottie Loves..., and came from etsy seller Prunella Soap, well, I got all excited. The soap, if you click on the above links, is packaged to look like candy and I was instantly smitten with the idea of using washi tape for packaging. I'm not a soap maker, but I sure can make some mighty fine caramel. So for once, I decided to actually follow through something spotted online and make something pretty and tasty. It also helped that one of my best friend was coming over to visit from Seattle and I wanted to gift her something special.




I found the washi tape at the local Japanese dollar store. 3 pretty rolls for $2. Not a bad buy at all! The rolls of washi were so nice to look at that I wondered if I could get away with wearing them as bangles. Uh, probably not. Fashion isn't my strong suit.

Now, if you've never made caramel, you might think of it as a daunting task. Nope. Wipe that thought out of your mind! It's actually a simple evening project that only requires a little patience and a good stirring arm. Oh, and butter. And cream. And sugar too. If you are hesitant to use sugar, I've got a recipe on my food blog for a salted honey caramel (made with almonds or you can dip apples & make caramel apples) and it's amazing too. But the real secret to making caramels is to be prepared – so make sure you have your pecans toasted and your pan prepared and all your ingredients out and ready to go. Caramel can scorch easily, when you are making the caramel, make sure to stir constantly and keep your heat manageable. Eagle eyes are a must!


As for wrapping, that's the fun part. Just slice the caramel once it's cooled with a sharp knife, put on your favorite trashy tv show and get crafty. Cut up your parchment paper and do a few test ones just so you can get the hang of it. Then, tape up the middles with a 2 inch piece of washi tape. Package them up in a mason jar or tin and you've got a tasty and beautiful homemade gift ready for giving! I like to give away all my caramel, but I keep all the ugly side edges because there does need to be some quality control, after all.

Sea Salt Caramels with Pecans
(adapted from Gourmet)
1 c heavy cream
5 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon flakey sea salt or fleur de sel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 cup toasted pecans, lightly crushed*
1 teaspoon additional flakey sea salt or fleur de sel (optional)

Line an 8x8 or 8x12-inch baking pan with a silpat mat or parchment. If using parchment, lightly oil it. Add the crushed toasted pecans evenly along the bottom.

In a medium pan, bring cream, butter and salt to a boil and then remove from heat. Set aside.

In a large pot - larger than you think - boil sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring until dissolved. Once it's been brought to a boil, stop stirring and let it come to a light golden caramel colour. You can swirl the pan lightly if you need to.

Carefully pour in cream mixture (it will bubble up like crazy) and simmer over medium or medium-high heat. Stir constantly until caramel comes to 248°F on a candy thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer (or even if you do), keep a glass of ice cold water on hand and test your caramel by dropping a bit into the water. Squeeze it or pop it in your mouth so you can get feel for how much longer you'll need to cook the caramel. If it's too soft, cook it longer or up the heat by the tiniest notch.

When the caramel is ready, quickly pour it into your pecan-covered baking pan making sure to cover all of the pecans. Put the pan on a baking rack to help cool. An hour or two later, cut into long strips (3/4"-1" wide is good) and then cut them into 2-inch pieces.

Cut parchment into 2.25" x 4" rectangles and then wrap each piece, twisting the ends to close. Wrap a bit of washi tape around the middle for decoration.

* If you don't like nuts or are allergic, don't add any and you'll still have great candy!

By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches

Jan Halvarson

20 comments:

Melinda @ Turkishly Delightful said...

While I'm not sure I'll be able to find all the ingredients here in Turkey, I am still thrilled to see a sea salt caramel recipe! Yum!

the southern hostess said...

I love the way you packaged them! What a fantastic gift.

Sheeps and Peeps Farm said...

love this idea - thanks for sharing

ltennet said...

A) Pinterest is my addiction but I never seem to find time to do any of the adorable crafts I see on there and B) This is an adorable idea and Salted Caramel is the most delicious thing ever. These would be adorable gifts to give my friends at finals week when we can all use a pick me up!

José said...

Your sea salt caramels bring me back to my holiday in La Vendee in France. Thank you!

Holly Hox said...

Love it! I must remember this recipe (and lovely packaging idea) for the holidays! Thanks for the share :)

dear pony said...

I love this, they are cute and pretty. great gift.

Mieko said...

Those caramels do look evil! I've never made caramels before, but now I want to try it. Maybe this weekend!

Boo's Mom said...

YUM!

Shutterbug said...

I like how you used the washi tape! The caramels look yummy! I have all the ingredients to make caramel! Maybe I should make some...

Valerie said...

salty caramel is a specialty from our area, Brittany and these look super-yummy ! love the idea of the masking tape !
fun to see the guerande salt because I indeed live near Guerande :)

claudine said...

This looks sooooooo good - and easy!!
Fabulous idea for homemade Christmas gifts this year. Grazie! Claudine

lyndsay said...

Super cute, Jeannette! Love the washi tape packaging and I want to jam those caramels into my mouth big time!!! Please do tell which dollar store you found washi tape in!?

NicoleD said...

Nice work! Pinterest IS a time sucker, but I am digging how it inspires me to be creative. Love the tape and how cute your caramels are.

lulu said...

Which Japanese dollar store? I think I NEED to go there right now!!

Joanne said...

I keep forgetting to swing by here and see your other food posts. Those caramels are the cat's meow! I love what you did with the wrappers. Those caramels sound amazing too, love the idea of pecans in there.

Amy said...

making these today with friends - very excited, thanks for the recipe! they will make perfect xmas gifts :)

Amy said...

making these today with friends - very excited, thanks for the recipe! they will make perfect xmas gifts :)

Emily said...

THese look yum. One question - what kind of consistency are they?? Very chewy? Soft?

Emily said...

These look yum! One question - what kind of consistency are they? Chewy/soft??

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