Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and today I've got a sweet treat organic recipe that will make your sweetheart feel the homemade love!

Why organic salted caramels? I just love the salty sweet goodness of these little guys. And when you take the extra step and top them off with an organic chocolate drizzle - look out. But they are a sneaky little concoction.

On one hand, they are so rich and delicious, your tummy will say to stop at two. But your taste buds will keep asking for more. Solution: gift a small bag to your friends, co-workers, neighbors and teachers.

A few go a long way and this recipe will yield enough for about two dozen inch-and-a-half-long caramels. So think of four lucky friends and keep a bag for yourself.

Organic Salted Caramels

Ingredients:

1 cup organic whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons unsalted organic butter - split in 3T and 1T
2 teaspoon organic sea salt
1-1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup (I could not find an organic alternate that would not alter the taste or texture)
1/4 cup water
3-ounces organic semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Gather your tools ahead of time - this is essential!

9x4 baking pan/bread pan or equivalent (9x4 = 36 square inches...)
Parchment Paper
Wax Paper
Candy Thermometer
Whisk
Spatula
Wooden Spoon
Kitchen brush (like a BBQ sauce baster...) & small bowl of cold water
2-quart sauce pan
4-quart sauce pan

Before I start on the steps - don't panic and eject! You can do it - and it only takes about 45 minutes from start of gathering ingredient to pouring in the mold. Here we go...

Get that mold ready and pre-measure all your ingredients. Trust me - if you are candy making for the first time in years (or ever!), it will really make a difference. To prep the mold, simply cut a piece of parchment (NO WAX PAPER!) to just larger than the base of your mold. In a pinch, you may use foil. Spray lightly with cooking oil. As you can see, my parchment was not perfectly aligned and still worked.

Prep the cream mixture. Heat your whipping cream, 3T butter, vanilla and salt in your smaller sauce pan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the butter melts. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Prep and cook your caramel base. Grab your larger sauce pan and pour in your sugar, corn syrup and water. Mix it gently before you put over heat. Brush sides with cool water using your kitchen brush. Clip on your candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat allowing the mixture to come to a boil without stirring. Stand next to your pot at it heats and regularly wipe down the sides with your cool water and kitchen brush. You do not want grainy caramels and these two steps are key! Continue to boil until mixture reaches 300-degrees to 320-degrees. Don't stress over the exact temperature.

Double up. Remove your larger sauce pan from heat, remove thermometer and slowly pour your already prepped cream mixture in carefully whisking as you pour. Reclip your thermometer, return to medium-high heat and let the mixture again come to a boil without stirring.

Whip & Pour. Remove from heat once your mixture is back to 250-degrees and whisk in remaining tablespoon of butter. Pour mixture in to prepared mold. If you see bubbles, tap the pan on the countertop to remove them. Allow to cool completely - about four to six hours.

 

Remove, slice, roll & wrap.  Sprinkle sea salt on a plate. Cut waxed paper candy covers. Once cooled, gently loosen caramels from the mold by lifting the parchment.  Moisten a sharp knife with cooking spray, place caramels on a cutting board and slice in to desired sizes. Reshaping caramels as necessary (these are soft little guys!), gently roll or press the sliced caramels in to the sea salt. Immediately wrap in waxed paper. Or, follow directions for chocolate drizzled caramels, below.

Organic Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramels: Before cutting caramels, gently melt organic chocolate. My preferred way is in the microwave on 70-percent heat stirring every 25 seconds. After cutting caramels, lightly drizzle chocolate and sprinkle a few sea salt crystals. Place on plate and chill until set. Wrap with waxed paper.

Whew! These caramels are actually quite easy to make and so, so, so delicious. Our lofty plans of gift-giving did not happen and my sweet tooth got the better of me. 

***

This recipe was adapted from several found on-line. However, the kitchn's recipe was an excellent guide to this novice candy-maker. Many thanks to them!