Every year a box would arrive at Christmas time from my great aunt Barbara… we all knew that among the contents there would be her famous salted butter caramels. Every year my aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents would gather around to open the box… when the bag of caramels came out it would get passed around the circle and we could each take exactly one. Once the bag made it around the circle my grandmother would discretely squirrel away the remainder of her sister’s luscious treats to savor slowly on her own.
I remember slowly unrolling the waxpaper to reveal the super soft homemade caramel. It was like nothing in the stores. Oh how I would savor that gooey, rich goodness. And then, as the last sweet bit melted on my tongue, I began the long wait until next year when I would get another.
When my great aunt passed away I tried to find her recipe. My grandmother didn’t have it. Her daughters didn’t have it. My aunt didn’t have it. I thought I would never taste those fabulous caramels again, until…
Last summer my sons and I bought a new french cookbook which contained a simple recipe for carmels… and this is it! I couldn’t believe it when I tasted them: Aunt Barabara’s caramels!
INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cup sugar; 6.4 TBS liquid whipping cream; 7.5 TBS room temperature salted Irish butter; 3.3 TBS water (sorry for the odd measurement translations)
WARNING: This is an easy recipe but please be super careful: the sugar is very hot -have an ice bath ready in case it gets on you and wear mitts while stirring.
Add the sugar and water in one pan. Heat, stirring constantly until it gets to a nice deep caramel color (293 degrees F) over a high heat. Simultaneously warm the cream over a low heat. When the sugar is caramel color VERY CAREFULLY add the cream in small doses –it will erupt like a volcano, watch out! Stir until homogeneous. Add the butter and stir util homogeneous.
Pour into a tray to cool (optional: dust with cashew pieces). Cut. Wrap in wax paper.