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Growing up,  the holiday treats would start to arrive the middle of December.   My grandmother had a way of sending the best Christmas treats and we would look forward to getting them in the mail. There were the most delicious roasted peanuts, syrup straight from Vermont and Sweet Sloop (Harbor Sweets). The Sweet Sloops were my absolute favorite – I would rip open the box and have two or three before handing them over for everybody to enjoy.

While I was looking though my cookbooks this Holiday season, I remembered how much I loved that butter crunch toffee sloops and decided that I wanted to make homemade caramels to gift this holiday season. I was planing on sending out a bunch of gifts and wanted to make them personal by including a homemade holiday treat.

Full disclosure –  I have had a few caramel fails. I just started to make candy and so it took a few attempts to get this one right. I even tested out a few different recipes and landed on Ina Garten’s Fleur De Sel Caramels. They only take about fifteen minutes to make and then they have to set for a couple of hours. These caramels are the perfect balance of creamy and salty all in one bite.  They wrap up great in parchment and are easy to ship.  I have even made  a few extra batches to have in the house for guest during the season.

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FLEUR DE SEL CARAMELS (Ina Garten’s recipe) 

Ingredients: 

–  1/4 cup light corn syrup
–  1 cup heavy cream
–  5 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Prep: A baking pan with parchment paper (covering the sides) and brush the paper lightly with oil.

Boil:  In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown.

Heat: In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Finish: When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.

Fill: Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

Roll, Cut & Wrap:  Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log and then cut into pieces. Lastly, wrap with parchment.
final_4Happy Cooking!