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Recipe Date:
July 29, 2016
Serving Size:
Cook Time:
Imperial (US)
This recipe is from Jacques Pepin's "Chez Jacques" cookbook. Nobody does simple and elegant quite like Mr. Pepin. We love these caramels and find that they make a great hostess gift for holiday parties. You will need a candy thermometer (which you can find at the hardware store). A digital meat thermometer works fine, too.
  • stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsps water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar

Combine 1 Stick of Butter (8 tablespoons), cut into pieces, and 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a small glass bowl, and microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes, until hot. Set aside. 


1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons of water, 1/4 cup of light corn syrup, and 1 cup of sugar. Stir just enough to moisten the sugar. The goal is to avoid having the mixture collect on the sides of the pan, which happens when you mix with a spoon or shake the pan; it tends to crystallize where it touches the sides. Pouring the water and syrup in first and then adding the sugar allows it to get wet by the liquid without splattering the sides. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixtures comes to a boil, and then cover with a lid for a minute or so to create moisture in the pan and melt any sugar that may be clinging to the pan sides. 


2. Place the candy thermometer in the pan, and cook for about 6 minutes, or until the sugar reaches a temperature of 320 degrees F, at which point it will begin to take on a light golden color around the edge. At that point, pour the butter and cream mixture gradually into the pan, adding about a third of it at a time, and stir, suing the base of your thermometer to incorporate it. Continue cooking for another 5 or 6 minutes, until the mixture reaches a temperature for 240 degrees F on the thermometer, the soft-ball stage. (this will create a relatively soft caramel; if you bring the temperature to about 245 degrees F, the caramels will be hard. So make adjustments based on your won tastes.) 


3. As soon as the caramel reaches the desired temperature, pour into an oiled loaf pan with a base that measures about 7 1/2 inches long by about 3 1/2 inches wide lined with a strip of oiled parchment paper that is long enough to extend up and slightly over either end of the pan. Cool, uncovered, at room temperature, for about 4 hours. Invert and unmold onto a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper (pulling gently on the paper strips, if necessary). If the caramel is still too soft to work with, refrigerate for an hour or so to firm it up. Cut into strips about 3/4 inches wide, and then cut the strips into 1 1/2-inch lengths to have about 20 caramels. Wrap in squares of plastic wrap or waxed paper and enjoy immediately, or refrigerate or freeze for eating later. 


4. To make chocolate-dipped caramels, let the cut caramels firm up overnight, uncovered, in the refrigerator. Drop a few squares of your best bittersweet chocolate into a glass measuring cup and microwave for 1 minute. Wait a few minutes, and then microwave the chocolate for another minute. It should be thoroughly melted at this point. 


5. Dip one end of each caramel in to the melted chocolate, so that it covers about half the caramel, and place the caramels on a piece of parchment paper to harden. When cool and hard, wrap the caramels and store them in the refrigerator. 


From the cookbook, "Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook" by Jacques Pepin. Page 245. Copyright 2007.