Sunday, July 11, 2010

Truffle Salted Caramels with Bacon

It is way too hot to be eating caramels this time of year but I’m on a mission. The kind of mission that drives you slap crazy before it’s over so really it’s more like I’m on a tear. Back during that lovely, oh so short period (what we call Spring) in central Texas when the outdoor temperature is pleasantly warm, right before it got hot as h-e-double-hockey-sticks, I made lavender honey caramels and brought some of over to my neighbors to share the wealth.

 

Nancy liked the caramels so much she decided to make a batch herself. She had the brilliant idea to sprinkle her caramels with truffle salt instead of fleur de sel. As soon as I tasted them, I was hooked. Hooked and sure that the only thing better than truffle salted caramels would be truffle salted caramels with bacon. I couldn’t wait to get started but I probably should have mulled it over a bit before diving in.

 

Unfortunately, my first attempt was too greasy, overly salted, and spread like butter. I used the same recipe as the lavender honey caramels and subbed bacon for the lavender. They were tasty but were just too much- too truffley, too bacony, too glutinous. So I decided to set the idea aside for a while and let it gel. Over the long July 4th weekend, those caramels kept popping into my head so I knew I needed try again. I browsed through a few cookbooks for another caramel recipe and decided to try out Alice Medrich’s Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert. I’d yet to make her caramels but she’s never steered me wrong before. As usual, her recipe produced impeccable results. I’m sure I’ll still tweak (just can’t help myself) these caramels but I’ll continue to use her recipe as a base.

Truffle Salted Caramels with Bacon 

adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

 

Alice’s recipe called for a little over ¾ t of salt but I like salty caramels so I increased the amount. Also, I would advise against subbing truffle salt for the fleur de sel in the caramel as the truffle flavor is quite strong. I found that just a bit sprinkled on top is more than enough. This recipe can get a bit messy. I got caramel everywhere- to include in my hair and on the ceiling. So worth the mess, though!


1 c golden syrup
2 c sugar
2 t fleur de sel
2 c heavy cream
1 T plus 1 t pure vanilla extract
3 T unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened
3-4 strips of bacon, crumbled or chopped
½ t truffle salt

8-inch square baking pan
Candy thermometer
 
1. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with two pieces of parchment cut to fit and allow an overlap on each side. Grease the parchment lightly with vegetable oil.
2. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and sea salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. Rinse the spatula or spoon so it will be clean for using later.
3. Uncover the pan and wash down the sides using the pastry brush again. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (do not stir) until the mixture reaches 305°F.
4. While the sugar mixture is cooking, heat the cream in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.
5. When the sugar mixture reaches 305 degrees Fahrenheit, take off the heat and stir in butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream, be very careful as it will bubble up and steam. Turn the burner back on and adjust the heat so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260 degrees Fahrenheit for soft, chewy caramels or 265 degrees Fahrenheit for firmer chewy caramels.
6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the caramel into the lined baking pan. Sprinkle the truffle salt and chopped bacon on top of caramel. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.
7. When firm, lift the caramel from the pan using the overhang and invert the sheet of caramel onto a cutting surface. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife into approximately 1” x 1” pieces.

6 comments:

  1. @Aimee Bacon really does make everything better!

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  2. Oh yum. I love the Vosages bacon toffee, so I bet these would be awesome as well.

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  3. It's not a party until there's caramel on the ceiling! Gorgeous and drool-worthy results, as always.

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  4. caramel? with bacon!? omg your blog is such torture...in the absolute best way! can you maybe, oh i dunno, post like 4 times a day? :)

    ps- so linking you!

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  5. @Peabody Didn't know Vosges made toffee too... that woman is a genuis. Thanks for the tip!

    @Optimista LOL! I have to admit this isn't the first time I've somehow gotten a "project" on the ceiling. I'm going to swipe your excuse and use it next time!

    @La Lola Wish I got to bake, and therefore write, more often. I'm enjoying your frequent updates!

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