Bobbette & Belle’s Salted Caramel Sauce

I admit that I have a tendency to avoid recipes that involve melting sugar.

I hate dealing with candy thermometers and I struggle to find the balance between caramel perfection and a burnt mess than is impossible to remove from a saucepan.

caramel-sauce-5

But I recently discovered that the salted caramel sauce in the Bobbette & Bellecookbook doesn’t require a candy thermometer at all. In fact, after baking this recipe TWICE, I can attest that it is super easy and virtually foolproof.

I made this sauce for some salted caramel cupcakes (which I promise I will post about in due course). It is also delicious drizzled over vanilla ice cream or eaten directly off a spoon. Not that I would know anything about that…

Although salted caramel feels kind of fancy, this recipe is anything but. There are three ingredients (sugar, cream, fleur de sel) and two steps. The steps are kind of long, but still – there are only two. Oh, and it only requires one dish. It says to use a medium saucepan, but after the boiled over disaster of the caramels last winter, I played it safe and used a bigger pot.

Step one: heat the sugar, half a cup by half a cup, over medium-high heat. This requires a whole lot of stirring to prevent the aforementioned caked on burnt caramel. The constant stirring makes it difficult to snap a photo unless you have a private photographer… which, as you can tell from these cell phone photos, I clearly do not. Eventually, the sugar magically transforms into a golden liquid.

caramel-sauce-2

Step two: once the sugar is in a liquid state and is a “deep golden colour”, the heat is reduced and you add in the cream. The recipe warns you that this will create a scalding steam – I can attest that this is true. A little fleur de sel is added, and then you let the whole thing cook while giving it the occasional stir.

The recipe says to let the whole thing come to a boil and wait until all the hard sugar bits have dissolved before removing it from the heat. With the first batch I made, I got a little nervous – I was afraid of burning the caramel and ruining the whole thing. That batch turned out pretty good, but it was a little gritty as the sugar had not completely dissolved. I was more patient with the second batch, letting it all melt and boil a little longer. I managed to avoid burning the house down AND the sauce was much smoother. Success.

caramel-sauce-4

That’s it. Easy, right? I let my caramel cool in the pot for a bit, then poured it into a glass jar. The recipe is supposed to keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks (mine has been there a week and a half and so far, so good). While I would love to make these as gifts, it doesn’t seem like they’d do as well made far in advance and stored at room temp – so I guess I’ll have to hog it all to myself.

caramel-sauce-1

Bobbette & Belle’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Corn

caramel-corn-3

Making candy can be a little scary. I feel like I never use candy thermometers correctly – and candy is soooo sensitive to temperatures that being only a couple of degrees off can be the difference between delicious bonbons and a waste of ingredients (and money). It seems safer to just avoid it altogether.

I’ve been conveniently avoiding the Confections and Sweets chapter of Bobbette and Belle’s cookbook, but I’ve had my eye on a few recipes (including the Fleur de Sel Caramels, which I WILL make one day – a local baker sells her version at seasonal craft fairs and they are delicious but very expensive, so I need to learn how to DIY).

caramel-corn-6

Finally, I found the perfect excuse to dip into the chapter. I had a Halloween night with a few girlfriends (centered around the classic – and timeless, as we discovered – film, Hocus Pocus) and one of them had mentioned some tasty seasonal treats, including caramel corn.

I remembered that the Bobbette & Belle book had a recipe for caramel corn, so I offered to bring some. Bonus: the recipe doesn’t require a candy thermometer.

I’ve made poppycock before (which is caramel corn with mixed nuts – absolutely delectable), but never just straight caramel corn. I was pleased to find out that it’s actually very easy.

caramel-corn-9

The first step involves making 15 cups of popcorn. If you’re reading this, I assume you’re not the type to use microwave popcorn (please, please don’t). You don’t need a fancy popcorn maker to make popcorn. I make mine on the stove top with a regular pot. I put some oil in it along with four kernels, crank the heat to medium-high, and wait until those four kernels have popped. I then add the rest of the kernels (2/3 cup of kernels = 15 cups of popcorn), cover my pot with a screen top thing that my mom got me eons ago (thanks, mom!), and shake lightly. I don’t shake non-stop, but I do it pretty frequently to let the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom.

caramel-corn-5

This is what 15 cups of popcorn looks like.

Once the kernels are popped, it’s time to make the caramel. Easy peasy: you melt butter + brown sugar + corn syrup + vanilla, let it get nice and bubbly (no mixing!), then add some baking soda and fleur de sel. The book calls for a “Rounded 1/4 teaspoon baking soda” – I have no idea what is meant by rounded, so I just used a regular 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. It also says “stir in the baking soda and fleur de sel and baking soda”, which amused me. An aside: the fleur de sel definitely has a presence in the final product. This is, after all, fleur de sel caramel corn, not regular caramel corn.

 

caramel-corn-7

Here is where I assumed the recipe would end; but, in fact, there is one final step. You spread the caramel-coated popcorn onto a pair of baking sheets at bake them for an hour at 275 degrees. After it has cooled, you get the most delicious popcorn, each pieces coated in a light caramel shell. I kept mine in a sealed tupperware style bowl and served it the next day, and it didn’t get stale at all.

caramel-corn-1

This caramel corn is superior to the stuff you get at Kernels. It’s really, really good – the recipe introduction says that they call it “crack corn” and their bakery, and I understand why. Caramel corn isn’t really filling in the way, say, cake is, so it’s easy to go back for “just one more handful” until there’s nothing left in the bowl.

caramel-corn-2

… after being baked.

This recipe is a keeper, folks.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.