November 24, 2013

Bourbon-Sea Salt Caramels

As I look back, it seems that almost every recipe I’ve shared has had bourbon in it, but I assure you, I am fully capable of cooking without booze in the recipe – and the cook!

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at caramels for a while now, and it was only recently that I started checking recipes. I found a good one in either the November or December issue of Bon Appétit magazine. Bon_Appetit_cover_grandeIt seemed pretty simple and it has bourbon! I picked up a candy thermometer at Williams-Sonoma last weekend, and after a quick trip to the grocery store, I was set. recipe

My main worry as I started this was the horrific story that my ex-mate in Wales’s son told me, as he showed me the most gawd-awful scars on his arm. He’d spilled some boiling sugar down his arm and had third degree burns. I can barely type it without flinching and so I was extra careful throughout the process.

It all starts quietly enough, but once sugar gets to a boil, it’s like napalm, and it sticks to your skin.

Gradually, the sugar solution began to change to a deeper amber colour,

Once that happened, I added the butter and milk, and like all of the recipes say, it does boil and rumble a bit.

The one piece of advice I got from everyone was to watch the temperature like a hawk, as the difference between soft ball stage (240*F) and hard ball (260*F) is a matter of seconds.

I added the bourbon and the Maldon Salt and then poured the caramel onto a prepared pan.

After it cooled a bit, I cut it into squares, which I later cut into smaller squares.

To make it a bit easier to cut, I used the butter wrapper to grease the edge of a pizza cutter so it would glide through the caramel.

Then I wrapped each piece in waxed paper. I tried using the parchment paper, but it was too stiff.

I drove around and dropped off samples at some friends’ houses and got rave reviews from all. Of course, I am pretty sure that the next batch I make will be different due to atmospheric pressure and other vagaries of cooking. However, I deem this recipe a big success and plan to make it for the holidays!

On another note, poor Connor has a hot spot, so I had to put him in the cone of shame. Doesn’t he look pitiful?


  1. Connor looks ethereal and, honestly, quite chic in his see-through cone. I'm reminded of the iconic photo of Keir Dullea in 2001: A Space Odyssey (although Connor is much more handsome).

    1. He's not too happy, but he is feeling better.

  2. Dear Aunt Meg: Next time you're dropping off samples of any type of sea salt caramels, you can drive yourself a little further south & I'd be, make that VERY happy! be one of your official taste-testers. I didn't think sea salt caramels could be improved over their original recipe, but adding the bourbon may be a crowing achievement!!

    Give Connor a hug for us.

    -- Miss M.A.

  3. Looks delicious! re the cone of shame: there is a new type, like a small wrap around inner tube that blows up. Much less shameful and more comfortable for the dog. It doesn't bother them as much. It is more like walking around with a built in sleeping pillow. You might try it. Easy to store as well, since you deflate it.

    1. Michelle - I looked for one of those the last time this happened, and didn't find one. I will check on-line. I know he hates this thing!

  4. HI Meg, poor Connor, he probably wants that collar off AND a sea salt Caramel as well. They look so delish!

    Art by Karena

    1. They turned out very well. Maybe a little dark, but it wasn't a problem!

  5. thanks for the recipe + looks wonderful.

  6. I suppose I should have let you know I was in your neck of the woods yesterday!
    Those yummy baked parmesan things that you posted a while back did not include bourbon...I suppose one could add bourbon to them!

  7. One does so adore good sea-salty caramels! Poor Connor, but am I the only one who thinks he looks rather luminous in his collar?


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