Salted Bourbon Caramels

img_6592I completely expected to write this post about how making caramel for the first time was a spectacular failure. That’s what I want for this blog – not just the beauty shots and wins, but the epic messes, the dropped cupcakes. But apparently I’m getting better at this cooking thing, because these caramels came out pretty close to perfect as far as I can tell (and I taste tested a LOT). 

Now I’m done with that crazy fitness challenge and avoiding my favorite things, what better to do next than something that combines bourbon and baking! Well, technically I didn’t use an oven, but I’d like to think the Baking component of BoBaBuBa encompasses cooking adventures of all sorts.

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Let’s get started!

Bourbon, butter, cream, sugar, salt and vanilla. That’s it. I could probably rattle off the exact recipe if you asked. Well, I haven’t yet learned the rules about posting recipes I didn’t invent. Not looking to get in trouble, so I’ll be sharing recipes once I figure it out. One thing at a time folks. Anyway, I’ve heard once on America’s Test Kitchen that often the simplest recipes are the trickiest to master. I suppose because you can’t hide behind a lot of ingredients.

Let's be real - spills happen when prepping ingredients
Let’s be real – spills happen when prepping ingredients

I’ve also heard that caramel is sort of a beast to master. Why am I doing this to myself?? I really couldn’t tell you. The Husband says this is the engineering genes coming out – I want to figure out the mechanics of the recipe and I set a very high bar for what I think is a good outcome.

What I do know is I love caramel, especially with a healthy sprinkle of salt. Add bourbon – how can you go wrong?

Cook till golden - but what if it starts golden because of my raw sugar??
Cook till golden – but what if it starts golden because of my raw sugar??
Is this golden enough?
Is this golden enough?
Ok, here we go. Let's add the cream and watch the bubble explosion!
Ok, here we go. Let’s add the cream mixture and watch the bubble explosion!
Now I see why they recommend a large pan!
Definitely needs a large pan! No better pics because I was trying to keep it from exploding!

All in all, I think this took me about an hour of active time – I started mid-morning, and let them cool/set up while I went to pick up the Little at preschool. I’m going to guess there are over 50 wonky squares of buttery salty caramel goodness. Not counting the ones I tested, and the nibble I gave the Little after she finished lunch.

Now let get these bubbles up to 248F
Now let get these bubbles up to 248F
Finally!
Finally! You can’t read it, but I did get it up to 248F
I wasn't sure a pot full of bubbles would turn into this gorgeous glassy
I wasn’t sure a pot full of bubbles could settle and become so glassy!
A healthy sprinkle of sea salt
A healthy sprinkle of sea salt

Up next, the tedious job of wrapping each and every one. I’m only a third of the way thru and it’s been almost an hour (yes I’m distracted, I was also downloading today’s photos, negotiating with my 4-year-old, and occasionally remembering that I still need to eat lunch).

I’m going to try freezing some, some will go to work with the Husband, and hopefully the rest I will pawn off on friends. These are far too dangerous to be left alone with me!

That’s all for now – I have another two hours of wrapping these suckers!

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