Sara’s Kitchen: Homemade Chocolate-Covered Salted Caramels…Great for Gifts!
I have a friend who loves Rolo candies. Decadent chocolate and creamy caramel? What’s not to love?
So one day, I decided to make her something as close to a Rolo as I could, but with a few changes. I used semi-sweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate. I added sea salt to the caramel and also sprinkled it on top. And, I didn’t go to the trouble of forming the candies into the small cylindrical shape of their store-bought inspiration.
But the result was, if I do say so myself, delicious! And, if you go to the trouble of making a batch, they are perfect for parties, housewarming gifts or setting out when guests drop by.
Making candy is not easy.
The best advice I can give is to invest in a reliable candy thermometer and to pay attention. Both will save you from hearing your spouse say, as they enter the kitchen, “What did you burn?” Remember: a saucepan of simmering sugar can be finicky. (I tell you this from experience: I’ve had more than one batch of caramel get away from me!)
Chocolate-Covered Salted Caramels
What you’ll need before you start:
- A 9-inch standard loaf pan
- Parchment paper
- Cooking spray
- A candy or deep-fry thermometer
- Waxed paper
- 3/4 cup Hiland Dairy Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons Hiland Dairy Unsalted Butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 to 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
- Extra sea salt for sprinkling
Line a 9-inch loaf pan with a strip of parchment paper, making sure that a little paper hangs over each of the long sides. Spray paper with cooking spray. Heat the cream with 2 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan with the vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm while you cook the syrup.
In a medium, heavy duty saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn syrup with the sugar over medium heat and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots. Cook until the syrup reaches 310º F. Tip: To get an accurate reading while the syrup is cooking, tilt the pan to make sure the bulb of the thermometer is fully submerged in the syrup.
Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture until smooth. Tip: The mixture will bubble, so be careful not to let it bubble over. It will subside as you stir, don’t worry. Turn the heat back on to medium and cook the mixture to 260º F. Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer and stir in the remaining cubes of butter, until it’s melted and the mixture is smooth.
Pour mixture into prepared loaf pan and wait at least 10 minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sea salt over the top. Set on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the parchment paper with the caramel, peel paper away and slice the bar of caramel into squares or rectangles with a long, sharp knife. These caramels are lovely just as they are, but for the true Rolo experience, and to turn them into great gifts, dip them in chocolate and individually wrap them in wax paper.
Place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and place in microwave for 15-20 seconds at a time until melted, stirring between each interval. Add canola oil, 1/8 teaspoon at a time, until it reaches a smooth consistency for dipping. Lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter or a baking sheet. Dip caramels, one at a time, in the chocolate. Tip: I use two forks (but it’s still a time-consuming process). Place dipped caramels on parchment paper. Sprinkle with a small amount of Maldon salt. Set aside to dry. Tip: You can also place the sheet of dipped caramels in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. Once the chocolate is set, individually wrap in waxed paper. Once wrapped, you can store these Chocolate-Covered Salted Caramels in an airtight container for up to a month. If you can make them last that long!
~Sara, Sara’s Kitchen