Burnt Honey Caramels
Let’s be honest, do you need the chat that’s about to follow? Or, after reading “Burnt Honey Caramels” are you ready just to skip straight to the recipe? I wouldn’t judge you if you did. The idea to make caramels with burnt honey as their base has been kicking around in my head for a few weeks now and after making them I can tell you that I am ready to skip straight to my own recipe and make them again. 😀👍🏻
But if you are still reading let’s talk about improving a childhood favorite, because that’s what we’re setting out to do here. When we were all kids “sweet” was a sufficient flavor profile. Now that we’re adults though it’s kind of nice to have something other than sugar as the main flavor component.
Now, chewy caramels that people make at home often — unfortunately — sound only that one note. Here’s why: If you scour the internet you’ll see that most modern homemade recipes for caramels insist that you use glucose syrup / corn syrup in them as their base.
Listen, I’m not going to tell you that corn syrup should never have been invented. It 100% has its place (for example, it’s a truly stunning binder for my Marzipan For Covering Cakes). But I’m not sure I want it as a primary ingredient in anything that I eat.
Fortunately, nature has given us its very own glucose syrup: Honey. And the glorious thing about “burning” honey is that it develops these wonderfully delicious, strangely elusive, fragrant, floral, caramel-y notes that only honey could give you.
And you guys, if you’ve never “burned” honey on the stove before I insist that you stop reading this and do so right now. It’s dead-easy. It will take you all of 5 minutes. And you will come out the other side with a jar of the most delicious honey you’ve ever had. My recipe for Burnt Honey is here.
After the happy discovery that honey was glucose-y enough to act as a binder for caramel the rest of this recipe was easy. Substantial amounts of butter were required for the richest, most unctuous mouth-feel; dark brown sugar for the deepest, most complex flavor possible; a healthy dose of salt to temper all that sweetness, and — instead of the more traditional heavy cream — sweetened condensed milk. Because.
Burnt Honey Caramels
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours, mostly hands-off
- Yield: 40 caramels 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (230 grams)
- 1 cup burnt honey (250 milliliters)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar (430 grams)
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk (400 grams)
You will also need a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer capable of handling very hot temperatures (such as a Thermapen) to make this recipe.
Let’s start out with a public service announcement: cooking sugar on the stove is dangerous. It’s going to get really, really, really hot. Please be careful when you go to make these Burnt Honey Caramels (or any hot-sugar food). I am not joking. Clear the kids out of the kitchen and while you’re at it, wear long sleeves.
That said, we are all adults here and we all understand that things on the stove get hot and can burn us, right? Good. Let’s go!
- Line a quarter sheet pan* with parchment paper and spray the paper with nonstick cooking spray.
- Melt your butter in a medium sauce pan. Once melted, add your burnt honey, kosher salt, dark brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir to combine (some of the fat might not combine until the end of cooking).
- Cook, stirring gently, until the caramel reaches 240-245°F. Immediately pour the caramel into your prepared pan. Do not scrape out the pot.
- Let the caramel cool for 30 minutes and then sprinkle some salt over the top. Let the caramel cool completely, 3 to 4 more hours.
- Remove the caramel from the pan, cut with a sharp knife into small pieces, and serve.
*If you don’t have a quarter sheet pan you can use two bread tins, or an 8×8″ pan. The caramels will be thicker than mine turned out, but if won’t effect the flavor or texture at all.
You can wrap each individual pieces of caramel in waxed paper for a traditional look.
Store the caramels somewhere cool (like the basement or the refrigerator). For long-term storage, wrap them in waxed paper and freeze them.
Keywords: burnt honey, caramels, candy
I just got a cavity reading this. That said, it looks amazing!