I’m totally missing out on my family’s vacation this week, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We visited a few summers, as kids. I’ve got that warm, sultry breeze, early morning beach combing, bodysurfing in the cool Atlantic waves, wild running horses, hammock swinging, summer novel reading, fresh crab, overdramatic teenage phone convos with my boyfriend and salty beach hair — in my dreams. And because I miss and love my parents, my sister and brother-in-law (and future niecephew!) and wish I were there with them, I wanted to send them something special.
And what’s more special-er than confecting candy I’ve never made before and may completely screw up.
I channel my inner Ina Garten.
So I made them. Twice. Because the first time, I burned myself and the caramel turned out like brown glass. The second time, I burned myself and the caramels turned out like lavender, vanilla, salt and honey heaven. (Summary: Worth it!) If you have some fabulous salt lying around, get to it.
Essentially, the process is pretty simple. But I do recommend keeping both your watchful eyes on the candy thermometer, instead of doing what I did: Stir the pot with the thermometer, while watching Hulu and also baking chocolate chip cookies.
The recipe is from WallFlour. And if there is a more divine scent than warmvanillalavenderhoneycream, I will gladly douse myself in it every morning. Even if it is 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fleur de Sel Caramels with Lavender, Honey and Vanilla
3/4 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
2 tsp lavender buds
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 tbs unsalted butter
3/4 c honey
1 3/4 c granulated sugar
2-3 tsp fleur de sel (or other sea salt), reserve 2 tsp for sprinkling onto caramel after it is poured in the pan
9″ square pan
rubber spatula (that will not melt at high temperatures)
What to do:
Butter the pan, then line it with parchment paper. Pour the milk, cream, lavender buds and vanilla into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has reached a boil, remove from heat and let lavender steep 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Reserve the liquid.
Combine lavender cream mixture, butter, honey and sugar in a deep pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until mixture comes to a boil. Allow caramel to continue boiling, stirring occasionally. When the mixture reads 240° F on the candy thermometer, stir mixture constantly until it reaches 248° F. Total cook time should be around 25 minutes. (Tip: 240° —> 248° is lightning speed. Be ready to remove mixture from the heat). After pot is removed from the burner, mix in 1 tsp salt and pour into pan.
Once poured, sprinkle the 2(ish) tsp salt on top of caramel before it sets. Cool the mixture completely until it is firm, about 3 hours.
Remove from pan, cut into bite sized pieces and wrap in parchment. Salty caramel perfection.