Salted Butter Caramel (Caramel Au Beurre Sale)

It was only a matter of time before somebody in Brittany discovered that combining the region's staples of butter and cream with sugar and a pinch of salt, and then cooking it, could make something so utterly delicious. That hit of salt in Breton caramel turns a quite plain caramel into something very special. And the caramel is taken a shade darker than usual to create a slightly bitter note, which balances out the sugary sweetness. I love adding a spoonful to my morning yogurt.
  • Total: 20 min
  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cook: 15 min
  • Yield: Makes 3/4 cup
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Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

7 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons runny honey

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Special equipment:
a kitchen thermometer
  1. Add half the sugar to a clean saucepan with 2 tablespoons water. Place over medium-high heat and let the sugar dissolve. Do not stir; instead, gently swirl the saucepan. Once the caramel has turned a dark reddish-brown, remove the pan from the heat and add the cream, honey, butter, and salt. Be careful not to stand over the pan as you do so, as the caramel will steam and bubble. Give the pan a good swirl and then return it to medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it reaches 235 degrees F.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes before pouring the caramel into a glass jar. The caramel will keep for a couple of months in the fridge; reheat and add a little water to thin it out. 

To make soft-set caramels:

  1. Continue to cook the caramel over medium heat until it reaches 260 degrees F. Pour the caramel into a small parchment-lined baking dish or rimmed baking sheet. Set for at least 1 hour before using a knife dipped in boiling water to cut into squares or bars.

Cook’s Note

For spiced caramel, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger; for a zingy touch, add the zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon; for a chocolaty finish, stir in 3 tablespoons cocoa nibs.