This soft caramel recipe with fleur de sel is the perfect Christmas candy recipe. The caramel is deep in flavor, soft in texture, and the fleur de sel really brings out the rich caramel flavor. Make this recipe for Christmas or any time of year really. There is never a bad time for a perfectly soft caramel if you ask me!
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What is Fleur de Sel?
Fleur de sel is the very best salt that comes from the coast of Brittany, France. This salt rests on the foam of the sea water, and it is then skimmed from the top so that only the finest sea salt is taken.
Fleur de sel is delicate and fine. It feels different from other salts too. It is almost as if you can still feel the foam of the sea in the grains because they are so soft and delicate.
In short, it’s perfect for this soft caramel recipe. I also recommend fleur de sel for making this amazing salted caramel sauce.
While you can use other types of salt, fleur de sel is my recommendation. It adds that extra something special to these caramels.
It might cost a little more than normal salt, but I always remind myself that fleur de sel is still cheaper than a trip to France. (Although I would definitely use running out of fleur de sel as an excuse to go to France!)
The Secret to Making Soft Caramels
The trick to making soft caramels(and all soft candy for that matter) is the temperature! Just a few degrees can take a soft caramel from soft to firm. Add a few degrees more and the caramels are no longer soft, but instead that are quite hard.
For this soft caramel recipe, we cook the caramel to 248 degrees F. It is okay if the temperature is 1 or 2 degrees over 248, but try to be exact.
If you look at a candy thermometer, you will see that 244-248 is the firm ball stage for candy making. Stay closer to 248 so that caramels aren’t too soft.
Checking Thermometer Temperature
Sometimes thermometers aren’t correct. They can vary a few degrees, which really matters when it comes to caramel and candy making.
To check the temperature of your thermometer, stick the end of the thermometer in a pot of boiling water. Check to see if the temperature reaches 212 degrees F. If the temperature does not reach 212 or goes over 212, make note of the discrepancy so that you know how many degrees to adjust the recipe.
For example, if the thermometer only reaches 210 in boiling water, then the thermometer only needs to reach 246 degrees F instead of 248.
Tips for Making Soft Caramels with Fleur de Sel
- Measure all of the ingredients before beginning. Candy making requires attention to detail, and you don’t want to be caught off guard by not being ready for the next step.
- Test your thermometer’s temperature in boil water.
- Boil the heavy cream, vanilla, and salt for just a few seconds so that it is nice and hot. Pouring hot heavy cream into the caramelized sugar allows the two mixtures to meld better. Cold cream causes the hot sugar to seize up and form little clumps that take awhile to melt down again.
- Use fleur de sel. If you cannot find fleur de sel, try Maldon flaked sea salt, as it is also a high quality salt that works well for garnishing the caramels. You may want to crush up some of the bigger flakes so that there aren’t any giant salt crystals on the caramels.
- Use nonstick foil or lightly spray the foil with nonstick spray before pouring the caramel into the pan. Otherwise, the caramel will stick to the foil and will be a big mess!
- Use a candy thermometer and know how to read it. Not too difficult, but it is worth looking at the thermometer beforehand to see where the firm ball stage is marked.
- Let the caramels cool for 2-3 hours, and sprinkle with fleur de sel right when you pour it into the pan. Cut with a sharp knife on a cutting board, and store between parchment paper or in individual wrappers.
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3/4 tsp fleur de sel, plus extra for garnish
- 5 Tbs unsalted butter
- Line a 9×9 pan with nonstick foil, or line with normal foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Bring heavy cream, vanilla, and salt to a boil in a small pot. Turn off heat and leave pot on the stove.
- In a large pot, add sugar and corn syrup. Cook on medium heat, stirring only to moisten the sugar. Wash down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush and water in the beginning if there are sugar crystals on the sides of the pot.
- Do not stir constantly. Instead, only stir when the sugar starts to caramelize. You will see the sugar turn a light amber color.
- Let the sugar caramelize until it is a deep amber color, similar to the color of almond skins.
- Turn the heat off and pour in the hot heavy cream while slowly whisking. It will bubble violently, so be sure to add the cream slowly so it doesn’t bubble onto your hands.
- Return to medium heat and attach candy thermometer to the pot. Stir frequently and bring temperature to 248 degrees F.
- As soon as the caramel reaches firm ball stage, remove from heat and stir in the butter until fully melted and combined.
- Pour caramel into lined pan and smooth caramel out evenly. Sprinkle with fleur de sel at this point, or you can wait until the caramel has been sitting for an hour and is a bit firmer.
- Let caramel cool for 2-3 hours. Remove foil sling from pan and gently peel foil away from caramel. Cut caramel into 1-2 inch pieces. Store between parchment paper or wrap caramels individually for optimal freshness. Enjoy caramels within 1-2 weeks.
Keywords: soft caramel recipe, salted caramel, caramel with fleur de sel.