One of my favourite lollies as a kid were Werther’s Originals – back when you could only get them in the hard variety, and each smooth, glossy butterscotch was individually wrapped in a golden, crisp cellophane. A love of butterscotch and caramel is one of my few tastes that hasn’t transitioned and changed as the years have progressed, and that is both a blessing and a curse..especially when you learn how to make it in bulk yourself.
These chewy salted caramels come from a Donna Hay recipe – something I’ve been wanting to experiment with for some time. While the process of making the caramel itself was fairly simple (so long as you have a sugar thermometer – a digital one is best), it was the cutting up of the big slab of caramel that was an absolute headache in this Sydney summer heat, adhering to everything that came into contact with it like a tan-coloured, elastic glue. But work it a little between clean fingers, and what results is a very rewarding large batch of beautiful confectionary. Simply wrapped in squares of baking paper, they make charming gifts stuffed into glass jars.
You will need:
- 1 cup (250ml) double (thick) cream for dolloping;
- 3/4 cup (180ml) condensed milk;
- 1 cup (250ml) glucose syrup, or corn syrup if you can find it;
- 1 cup (220g) caster sugar;
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water;
- 60g butter;
- sea salt flakes.
Place the cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until just warm. Set aside and keep warm.
Place the glucose syrup, sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Insert a sugar thermometer, bring to the boil and cook until the temperature reaches 120 degrees Celcius.
As always, do take great care of any spitting as toffee heats at a higher temperature than boiling water. It stings badly!
Reduce the heat to medium and add the butter and warm cream mixture (the temperature will drop) and cook, stirring continuously to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan and burn. At this point, don’t be worried about the mixture still being quite pale in colour, it will darken to a luscious shade as you stir it to get the temp back up.
Bring the temperature back up to 120 degrees Celcius. It can be a little time-consuming and frustrating as I found my temperature kept fluctuating – getting my hopes up and then down like a yo-yo. But then I never managed to master a yo-yo so I guess I can’t really use it as a comparison?
Remove the caramel from the heat and pour into a well-greased and lined 20cm-square baking tray. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and allow to cool completely at room temperature – not in the fridge.
Turn the caramel out and cut into whatever size you like. As much as I am a butterscotch fanatic, I found this very rich and so cut it into 3/4 pinkie sized pieces. Mould it between your fingers a little if it needs a little help.
Fold the paper over and twist both ends to make it pretty. With gifts, it’s all about the anticipation, after all 😉