Salted Caramels – The Book Eats 2 and a very well received gift.

I’m not going to lie. These are my new pride and joy. Well, they may be neck in neck with the brownies. And the devils food cake. And the cookies. Hmmm. I see what’s happening here. Oh dear. Well I do like cooking. Anywho, so as you all know, my blog is much neglected in the last few months. I *have* been cooking the odd time, but I had camera issues first, and then I got into a run of call and was basically completely wrecked and airheaded for the last 8 weeks, as Lisa could tell you (Lisa is a mad GAA fan and dochtúir I work{ed:(} with, and the best craic ever. She has also been chief sampler of all treats brought to work. Hi Lisa!). Actually we both had our days. I have also discovered that my talents do not extend to working out people’s ages based on their date of birth. I just cannot do it. Mental block. Or just plain thick. On the other hand Lisa did repeatedly attempt to exit a door by pressing a light switch… Heh.

But back to the main point. I have been working 3 months. THREE! It honestly seems like 3 weeks. But every 3 months we are forced out of our current job that we have just settled into and thrown into a new job where we have to learn everything new. SIGH. Well at least I don’t have to move county- there are a few jobs where you have to up and move house every 3 months. That would drive me completely mad. I’ve been exceptionally lucky though, I’ve had the nicest team ever to work with, I’ve learned LOADS, and I’ve had a really nice time! So on my last day I had to bring in something extra special, and as I’ve said I’ve been thinking of doing more of my ‘Book Eats‘ series. My love for Enid Blyton’s Faraway tree stories is well documented on this blog. It may have had a large part to play in my infatuation with toffee, although there is most certainly some genetic influence there, given that my mother has a tendency to physically attack anybody that comes within an arse’s roar of her toffee supply. But it seemed that the children were quite adept at making toffee in the book, which they then gifted to Moonface and Silky. Well, I thought that it would be rather lovely to bring in to all of my co-workers on my last day as a wee thank you, and so I set to work to find a recipe I hadn’t already tried and failed miserably at. Spurred on by that fact that children were apparently able to whip up a batch at a moments notice, I threw myself into the task. The recipe I based this on was from my most beloved of cookbooks- Darina Allen’s Forgotten skills of cooking, but I’ve edited it quite a bit to make it a tad more to my liking. WIthout further ado, I give you my newest favourite sweet treat:

The sun was setting when I was taking pictures and all of a sudden the light just changed and it was so pretty!

Salted Caramels
You will need:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tin of condensed milk (14oz)
  • 1/2 tsp Maldon salt
  • 300g chocolate (55% but go 70% if that’s what you prefer!)
  • 1 tbsp maldon salt for sprinkling
  • What to do:
    1. Grease and line a tin with silicone paper or another non stick substance. I used a large swiss roll tin which fills about perfectly.
    2. Melt the butter over medium heat.
    3. Add the sugar, 1/2 tsp of maldon salt, and golden syrup and stir well until mixed.
    4. Add the tin of condensed milk and stir.
    5. Continue stirring over a medium heat until it begins to bubble and turn a glorious browny caramel colour. Don’t stop stirring until you are pouring it into your tin!
    6. Now. When is it done. In the book it says when it reaches a hard crack stage. However, my trusty thermometer has been put back on the shelf for this particular recipe. I’ve been using colour and the ice water test as a guide. The ice water test- fill a bowl with ice cold water and when you think your caramel/toffee is getting near the done stage, drop a spoonful into the water. Give it a second and test it for consistency. For this recipe I went with a semi soft type of consistency- chewy but squishy, if you get me. It’s not quite toffee like, but if it got much longer it would be!
    7. Pour into your prepared tin and leave to set.
    TIP: To clean saucepan you need hot water. I usually fill it up with warm soapy water and pop it back on the hob for a few mins until the caramel scrapings soften up and are easily wiped off. Saves a lot of elbow grease.
    8. When your toffee is set (could take a few hours), turn it out onto a chopping board, cut it up as you wish- I use a ruler and pizza cutter (oiled) to do the lenthwise cuts, and a scissors to cut each length into little bits of lovely caramel heaven.

    This is the colour you should get to. You can see a few wee bits where I didn’t stir well enough, oops. No harm!



    9. Melt your chocolate (I use a bowl over simmering water).
    10. The tedious part. Dip each of your sweets in chocolate and leave on a non stick mat or wire tray to set. It takes me 3 trays to fit them all! Before any of them set – I do this in batches, crush up your maldon salt flakes and sprinkle a little on each chocolate. This is really important as you can barely taste the salt we added to the actual caramel, and this way, I feel, works much better for taste!

    Leave to set (If you can), and pack them into little gift bags or boxes. This is a really nice Christmas present idea for those of you that tend to give the homemade variety of gifts, and is very cost effective too!

    Hello you…


    Try not to eat them all. It is difficult. SO difficult. So good. I’m off to.. eh.. test a few now, see how well they hold up after a day. Seeing as my first batch didn’t last for the day at all!

    Enjoy these ones, they’re a wee bit special I think!

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