Monday, February 19, 2007

Salted Chocolate Caramels

It all started with Michael Recchiut's Fleur de Sel Burnt Caramel . I fell in love with the combo, came to understand that it had origins with others, and have yet to branch out because I'm so addicted to his. That said, this holiday season, I decided to try Gourmet's salted chocolate caramels. I made them amazingly perfect, the ganache frothing up in the caramel, the sea salt sitting on the chocolate, each one sitting in its own (albeit slightly greasy in a buttery way) spot in the containers for Liam's family. After everyone realized that yes, in fact, one can create caramels in the home kitchen, they were hooked too.

I made them again last night for our Dinner Club. The salt, again, seemed to be the key. Someone who didn't even like sweets was convinced to eat one, and come back again and again. Others kept taking the small pieces as they melted in chocolatey, caramely goodness with flakes of Maldon sea salt sticking to your teeth (not the caramel). I think I could've improved them slightly by letting the caramel turn 'deep golden' and what for me was most likely 'tawny' before adding ganache. I also upped the ante with Plugra, and thought this fat may have made them a bit more gooey than I had anticipated (these are the benefits of a Dinner Club with actual trained chefs!) They still taste amazing and are amazingly easy to make if you watch the caramel (and despite recipe reviews on the site, I did keep it until 255 without a problem - I had lower heat and kept them on the stove maybe twice as long as the 15 min. suggested).

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