I'm thrilled to share this Salted Whisky Caramels recipe with you! It's a perfect blend of creamy caramels, smoky whisky, and a hint of sea salt. These caramels aren't your ordinary chewy sweets; they offer a complex flavor profile that balances sweetness with a boozy kick. Trust me, one bite, and you'll understand why they're my go-to treat for impressing guests or spoiling myself.
Making these caramels is easier than you might think. We'll start by melting butter and cream, then boil sugar and corn syrup until they reach the perfect temperature. A splash of whisky and a pinch of salt go in next, adding layers of flavor. After cooling, sprinkle a touch more sea salt on top, and you've got yourself a delectable, sophisticated treat. Let's get cooking!
Preparing the Pan and Ingredients
- Line the Pan: First, line a 9x9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Make sure the paper extends over the sides for easy lifting later. Lightly grease the parchment with butter to prevent sticking.
- Pre-Measure Ingredients: Accurately measure out all your ingredients and set them aside, ready for quick access.
Cooking the Base
- Heat Cream and Butter: In a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream and unsalted butter. Heat over low flame until the butter melts completely. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Prepare Sugar Mixture: In a separate, heavy-bottomed saucepan, mix together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Attach Thermometer and Boil: Fix a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan containing the sugar mixture. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil. Keep an eye on the thermometer until it reads 250°F (121°C).
- Combine with Cream: Slowly and carefully add the warm cream and butter mixture to the boiling sugar mix. It will bubble up, so be cautious. Continue cooking while occasionally stirring.
- Final Temperature Check: Cook until the thermometer shows 245°F (118°C) for soft caramels or 248°F (120°C) for firmer ones.
Flavoring and Setting
- Add Whisky and Vanilla: Turn off the heat. Carefully stir in the whisky, vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into the caramel.
- Pour into Pan: Immediately pour the finished caramel into the prepared baking dish.
- Add Sea Salt: After about 10–15 minutes of cooling, sprinkle additional sea salt over the surface of the caramel.
- Cool Completely: Let the caramel sit until completely set. This will take about 2–3 hours at room temperature. If you're in a hurry, you can place it in the fridge after it cools down to room temperature.
Cutting and Storing
- Lift and Cut: Once the caramel is set, use the overhanging parchment paper to lift the whole block out of the dish. Place it on a cutting board and use a sharp, lightly greased knife to cut it into 1-inch squares..
Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Salted Whisky Caramels
Use a Heavy-Bottomed Pan: Opt for a high-quality, heavy-bottomed saucepan to help evenly distribute heat and minimize hot spots. This will reduce the risk of burning or crystallizing the sugar, which can ruin the texture of your caramels.
Keep Ingredients Ready: Pre-measure all your ingredients and have them close at hand before you start cooking. Caramel-making is a fast process once you get going, and there's not much time to pause and measure things out.
Monitor Temperature Carefully: A candy thermometer is your best friend when making caramels. Check it regularly, and remember that even a slight deviation from the recommended temperature can result in caramels that are too soft or too hard.
Stir Sparingly: Resist the urge to stir constantly. Limit your stirring to just combining the ingredients and during the addition of cream. This will help prevent the formation of sugar crystals, which would make the caramels grainy.
Add Whisky Carefully: When you add the whisky, the caramel mixture will bubble up dramatically. To minimize this, turn off the heat and carefully pour in the whisky while stirring. Turn the heat back on once the bubbling has subsided.
Quality Whisky: The whisky you choose will significantly impact the final flavor of your caramels. Go for a high-quality whisky with smoky or woody notes to add depth and complexity to your treats.
Cooling Time: It’s tempting to rush the cooling process, but patience is key. Allow the caramel to fully set before attempting to cut it. If you need to speed things up, you can place the caramel in the fridge, but do so only after it's reached room temperature to prevent condensation from forming.
Troubleshooting Your Caramels
IF Your Salted Caramels Sets Too Soft
Hey, don't fret if your caramel turns out too soft. It's a common issue, often caused by not cooking the mixture to a high enough temperature. Candy thermometers can sometimes be finicky, or maybe you took the caramel off the heat too soon. Whatever the reason, you can actually save the batch. Just pour the soft caramel back into a saucepan and reheat it to 245°F (118°C) for soft caramels or 248°F (120°C) for firmer ones. Pour it back into the prepared dish, let it set, and you should have the consistency you're aiming for.
If Your Salted Caramels Sets Too Hard
If your caramel sets too hard, it probably cooked at too high a temperature. It's an easy mistake to make, especially if you're multitasking in the kitchen. But don't worry, you can still salvage it! Chop the hard caramel into small pieces and melt it down in a saucepan over low heat. You'll want to add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream to soften the mixture. Keep an eye on the candy thermometer and heat it to your desired temperature—either 245°F (118°C) for soft caramels or 248°F (120°C) for firmer ones. Repour, reset, and you should be back in business.
Salted Whisky Caramels
- Heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Candy thermometer
- Wooden spoon or silicone spatula
- 9x9-inch square baking dish
- Sharp knife
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt plus more for sprinkling
- 3 tablespoons whisky
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 9x9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, making sure the paper extends over the sides for easy lifting.
- Lightly grease the parchment paper with butter.
Make the Caramel:
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream and butter together over low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a separate heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, without stirring, until it reaches 250°F (121°C).
- Carefully pour the warm cream and butter mixture into the boiling sugar mixture. The mixture will bubble up dramatically, so be cautious.
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reads 245°F (118°C) for soft caramels or 248°F (120°C) for firmer caramels.
- Turn off the heat, and carefully stir in the whisky, vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt.
- Immediately pour the caramel into the prepared baking dish.
- Allow the caramel to cool for 10–15 minutes, then sprinkle the surface with additional sea salt to your liking.
- Let the caramel sit until completely set, about 2–3 hours, or speed up the process by placing it in the refrigerator.
- Once set, lift the caramel out of the dish by the parchment paper flaps and transfer to a cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the caramel into 1-inch squares or your desired size.
Salted Whisky Caramel - FAQ
Absolutely, you can experiment with other types of alcohol like rum, brandy, or bourbon. Just make sure the alcohol you choose complements the flavors of the caramel.
A candy thermometer is highly recommended for precise temperature control. Making caramel is a science, and even a few degrees off can alter the texture significantly.
Yes, you can use dark corn syrup, but it will give your caramels a more robust, molasses-like flavor. Light corn syrup provides a more neutral sweetness.
rainy caramel is usually the result of sugar crystals forming during the cooking process. This can happen if you stir the mixture too much or if the sugar isn't fully dissolved before boiling.
Yes, you can freeze them for up to a month. Wrap individual pieces in parchment paper and then place them in a zip-top freezer bag. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before consuming.
Lightly grease your knife with cooking spray or butter to prevent sticking. Make sure the caramel is completely set before attempting to cut it.
Once cut, wrap individual caramels in parchment paper and store them in an airtight container. They'll keep for up to two weeks at room temperature.