My next assignment was to make a caramel, which was really exciting for me because I love everything caramel. Especially salty caramel. I knew I was going to make a pretty much straight-up caramel, but with smoked salt added. I was given a recipe for caramel in my course, but the Good Eats episode on salty sweets aired the night I was going to make it, and I decided to use Alton Brown’s recipe for Dark Salty Caramels instead. His recipe includes the addition of a bit of soy sauce, which I found interesting. I thought it would work well with the smokiness of the salt and the Amano chocolate.
This is a wet caramel, and it includes the addition of cream of tartar and corn syrup to help reduce crystallization. The sugar mixture is cooked to 350 degrees and a nice amber color before adding the cream, soy sauce and butter. The trick with caramel is not to overcook it. I tend to judge by color rather than by temperature, but I monitor both.
Once the cream, butter and soy sauce were added, I poured the caramel into a pan to set up. After 30 minutes, I added smoked salt to to top of the slab. It kind of bounced around but eventually sank just barely into the top of the caramel.
I let the caramel set up overnight. The next step should have been to coat the bottom with a thin layer of tempered chocolate – but I forgot. Not a huge deal, but it makes it easier to dip into chocolate. Next, I cut it into 1-inch squares. Next time, I’ll cut it into even smaller squares. The caramel is delicious just like this. I set some aside to give away, plus ate a bunch of them because I just can’t resist.
I’ve become even better at hand-dipping and this went pretty smoothly. The chocolate was tempered really well and these turned out beautifully. And I was right, the soy sauce added a nice umami component to the smokiness of the salt and chocolate. I topped them with a little smoked salt. I brought a bunch of these to work and everyone loved them. I’ll definitely make these again.