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Tuesday
Jan222013

How to Make Earl Grey Salted Caramels, Step-by-Step Recipe

My sister suggested a tea infused candy for a post, so Queenie (my cooking/baking guru) and I came up with Earl Grey Salted Caramels. After four attempts and modifications, Queenie created this recipe which is AMAZING. They're soft, chewy, and the best part is that they don't feel like they're going to pull out your fillings. The Earl Grey flavor really comes through without being overpowering. They're the perfect chew. It's impossible to just have one.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream  
3 tablespoons Earl Grey loose leaf tea, hand-crushed (we used Bellocq's The Earl Grey)
1 black tea bag (we used Barry's Tea)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons cold butter, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt + more for sprinkling (we used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)


EQUIPMENT:

Candy thermometer
Twisting wax paper
12x12 baking pan
Parchment paper to line the baking pan
Ruler

1. Line a 12x12 baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a saucepan, put in the heavy cream (1 1/2 cups), tea bag and crush in the Earl Grey loose leaf tea (3 tablespoons). On a low flame, bring to a slow simmer and make sure it doesn't go to a boil. After five minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. 

3. Strain the tea. There should be about a cup of this liquid. Add vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon) into the liquid.

4. Pour in the sugar (2 cups), corn syrup (1/4 cup), honey (1/4 cup), and water (1/3 cup) into a heavy pot. Mix well to get rid of any lumps.

5. This is key: Using a wet brush and cold water, wipe clean the inside of the pot so that there isn't any sugar left above the water line. This prevents crystallization.

6. Clip on the candy thermometer onto the side of the pot and turn on the heat to medium-low. Cook the sugar until the candy thermometer reaches 230-235°F. At this point, it'll be a dark golden color. 

7. At 230-235°F, turn off the heat and slowly add in the cup of heavy cream tea while stirring. Then add the butter (4 tablespoons) and salt (1/2 teaspoon).

8. Turn the heat back on to medium-low and bring the caramel to 250°F. After it reaches 250°F, keep the heat on medium-low and keep stirring for five more minutes. 

Note: The longer the caramel cooks after it reaches 250°F, the harder and stickier the caramel will get since the liquid is being reduced during this process. 

9. Pour the caramel into the prepared baking pan. Let it cool completely, about two hours. (You can speed this process by putting it into the freezer for a few minutes, but make sure the caramel doesn't freeze.)

10. After about an hour into the cooling process, when the caramel is set, but not completely cooled, sprinkle salt on top. After it has completely cooled, cut into small pieces using an oiled knife and ruler. Use a paper towel with some oil to wipe the knife and ruler to prevent the caramel from sticking to them. 

11. Cut the twisting wax paper into four pieces. 

12. With the shiny, waxy side of the paper on the outside, wrap each caramel piece. Instead of twisting the ends, each end was flattened down, using the caramel itself as an adhesive.

EARL GREY SALTED CARAMELS

Makes about 90 - 100 caramel pieces

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream  
3 tablespoons Earl Grey loose leaf tea, hand-crushed (we used Bellocq's The Earl Grey)
1 black tea bag (we used Barry's Tea)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons cold butter, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt + more for sprinkling (we used Maldon Sea Salt Flakes)


EQUIPMENT:

Candy thermometer
Twisting wax paper
12x12 baking pan
Parchment paper to line the baking pan
Ruler


DIRECTIONS:

1. Line a 12x12 baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a saucepan, put in the heavy cream (1 1/2 cups), tea bag and crush in the Earl Grey loose leaf tea (3 tablespoons). On a low flame, bring to a slow simmer and make sure it doesn't go to a boil. After five minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

3. Strain the tea. There should be about a cup of this liquid. Add vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon) into the liquid.

4. Pour in the sugar (2 cups), corn syrup (1/4 cup), honey (1/4 cup), and water (1/3 cup) into a heavy pot. Mix well to get rid of any lumps.

5. This is key: Using a wet brush and cold water, wipe clean the inside of the pot so that there isn't any sugar left above the water line. This prevents crystallization.

6. Clip on the candy thermometer onto the side of the pot and turn on the heat to medium-low. Cook the sugar until the candy thermometer reaches 230-235°F. At this point, it'll be a dark golden color.

7. At 230-235°F, turn off the heat and slowly add in the cup of heavy cream tea while stirring. Then add the butter (4 tablespoons) and salt (1/2 teaspoon).

8. Turn the heat back on to medium-low and bring the caramel to 250°F. After it reaches 250°F, keep the heat on medium-low and keep stirring for five more minutes.
Note: The longer the caramel cooks after it reaches 250°F, the harder and stickier the caramel will get since the liquid is being reduced during this process. 

9. Pour the caramel into the prepared baking pan. Let it cool completely, about two hours. (You can speed this process by putting it into the freezer for a few minutes, but make sure the caramel doesn't freeze.)

10. After about an hour into the cooling process, when the caramel is set, but not completely cooled, sprinkle salt on top. After it has completely cooled, cut into small pieces using an oiled knife and ruler. Use a paper towel with some oil to wipe the knife and ruler to prevent the caramel from sticking to them. 

11. Cut the twisting wax paper into four pieces. 

12. With the shiny, waxy side of the paper on the outside, wrap each caramel piece. Instead of twisting the ends, each end was flattened down, using the caramel itself as an adhesive.


»»» 
Also made by Queenie: Mini Matcha Madeleines, Mini Victoria Sponge Cake, Small Batch Jam, Easy Scones

Reader Comments (13)

Oh my! I can't wait to try this. Earl Grey is my favorite tea, and boy do I love a good caramel. Thanks for sharing the step by step!

01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterWinnie

Hi Winnie, you MUST make this! I can't get over how good they are.

These look amazing, I love the salt, the chew even the untwisted wrappers... :)

01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Thanks for the compliments, Anne!

I'm in love. And you're a genius. And I'm making these. ASAP.

01.24.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDea

Hi Dea, I can't take all the credit since my sister inspired us and Queenie came up with the recipe and made it. Happy to hear you'll be making them! Just be warned, it's hard to stop eating them; they're just too good!

What an interesting idea to infuse the cream with high quality Earl Gray tea. I'm sure these are a winner! I always find soft, homemade caramels to be irresistable.

01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterVespa Woolf

These looks amazing, I am definitely going to try making them. Love the little wrappers as well. Great post !

01.25.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTorie

Hi Virginia, I love soft caramels too, so adding in some Earl Grey flavor to these makes them just that much better!

Hi Torie, yes, do make them! Thanks for your comment!

I was a little confused by #8. "Turn the heat back on to medium-low and bring the caramel to 250°F and continue to cook for five more minutes." Why wouldn't there be a temperature goal? The candy will have gotten much hotter than 250 after 5 more minutes. Does it mean turn the heat off and stir for 5 more min off heat??

So I've tried this recipe twice now. First time was great, very soft caramel with amazing flavor. Very popular with all who tried. Perfect softness. Sticky but didn't get stuck in teeth. We got nervous about #8 when making it though, so we took the pan off the heat after about a minute once it got to 250.
Second time was a disappointment because the caramel was too hard and sticky.. We left the pan on the burner for 3 minutes after it got to 250. I got too nervous to wait 5 min though so I turned off the burner and stirred for another minute. I took the candy thermometer out so I don't know how high it ended at. But regardless, my advice is to take it off the heat as soon as it gets to 250. Don't let it get hotter than 250 or it moves from "firm ball" to "hard ball" or "soft crack."

02.10.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Hi Megan,

I asked Queenie, who created this recipe and she says that for #8, the goal is to not get it to reach a certain temperature after 250 degrees, but rather to let the liquid evaporate a bit more (5 minutes) after it has reached 250. So that's the reason she doesn't have a specific temperature goal listed. The longer you keep the heat on after 250 degrees, the harder and stickier the caramel will get (due to there being less liquid).

Queenie keeps the heat on and stirs for 5 more minutes. That's how she's been making her caramels and she's made a few batches now using the same method.

Thanks for your comment and advice. I think it'll be useful for people looking for a softer version of these caramels.

Hi Jee! These looked too good to pass up, so I made a batch today. I followed the written step-by-step directions, and forgot to refer back to the list of ingredients, so I missed adding the vanilla. Would it have gone in at step 7? Really, I didn't miss it. The caramels turned out soft, and absolutely delicious! I've packaged them up to give away to friends tomorrow, otherwise I will exceed my annual caramel quota within a day. Thanks for the great recipe!

08.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatty

Hi Patty thanks so much for catching that! I just updated the recipe and added the vanilla extract to step 3, although it would have worked just fine adding it to step 7. So happy to hear the caramels turned out great but I'm sure your friends are even happier you made them!

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