Bourbon-Sea Salt Caramels

A few weeks ago, while watching the excellent PBS program “Mind of a Chef,” I learned about a really cool artisan salt maker called Jacobsen Salt Co.  They harvest pure salt crystals straight from Oregon’s cold waters using traditional methods, and the chefs on the show were more than enamored with the product.  I couldn’t help myself – I placed an order that night!

I’ve sprinkled the salty flakes atop savory dishes as a nice finishing touch.  When I saw a recipe for bourbon-sea salt caramels in the latest issues of Bon Appetit magazine, I knew it would be a perfect excuse to use some of my treasured salt.  Sure enough, it was delicious!  I brought individually wrapped pieces to our family’s Christmas Eve celebration so everyone could try it.

Bourbon-Sea Salt Caramels (recipe from Bon Appetit magazine)

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

2 cups sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Flaky sea salt (I used Jacobsen Salt Co. Flake Finishing Salt)

Lightly coat an 8×8” baking pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2” overhang on 2 sides; spray parchment.

Bring sugar, corn syrup, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture turns a deep amber color, 8–10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and whisk in sweetened condensed milk and butter (mixture will bubble vigorously) until smooth. Fit pan with thermometer and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thermometer registers 240°. Remove from heat and whisk in bourbon and kosher salt. Pour into prepared pan; let cool. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt, cut into ¾” pieces, and wrap individually in parchment paper.

DO AHEAD: Caramels can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store wrapped tightly in plastic in airtight container at room temperature.

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