This caramel. It is hard to find the right words to describe it.
We received a lovely gift in the mail – this gorgeous salt cellar and a box of Maldon flaky sea salt. The time had come to make Shutterbean’s bourbon salted caramel recipe. I had to wait until I returned from the holiday vacation.
We had somehow managed to maneuver our way back east on the heels of Hercules, and drive four long hours through a snowy mess to arrive home for a quick 36 hour stop before we took to the roads again. I got to work!
The other secret to this recipe? A little splash of bourbon! If you have made caramel you know that things happen quickly! So quickly.
There I am! Thoughts at this moment: Did I cook the sugar/ water mixture long enough? Was it really a dark amber color Tracy mentioned? Whoa, I am one year older at this moment! I still am in utter awe at all of the beautiful things that happened within the last year. If this caramel does not turn out I will need to make a new food gift. What do I have on hand? What can I make?
It seemed all was well. I poured out the mixture into a parchment lined pan. I let it cool in our second refrigerator (Sweet Z’s uninsulated office) and then sprinkled those beautiful sea salt flakes across the top. Instead of individually wrapping little caramels, I opted to wrap sticks of caramels with a pretty tag that offered serving instructions. I made up some pretty little bags with a few other treats and away we went! We were off to my Mom’s house. My brother and his family were there too!
I unloaded the little gift packages under the tree then eagerly went back to the kitchen to eat and be merry! Sweet Z and the kids played a fun hallway game.
Then suddenly things were quiet. The kids had found other activities. It was the sort of quiet that makes you think someone is getting into a bit of mischief. The dog was nowhere to be seen. I soon discovered why.
I went into the family room where Sweet little Ava was sitting quietly on the floor looking at a book, while watching Sonny at her side. The Christmas tree was softly glowing with little white lights. Sonny, my beagle brother, was happily chewing away. He expertly extracted the caramel stick, disturbing nothing else, and was just finishing up THE ENTIRE stick of caramel, including paper!
The texture of this caramel is like taffy, with a hint of bourbon with the perfect salty and sweet combination. I am going to take the leftover caramels and stash them away in the freezer. On another cold winter day I will add some of this to some fancy hot chocolate…to remind me of the amazing salted caramel hot drinking chocolate we had at Bittersweet Cafe in Oakland.
PS – No worries – Sonny is ok!
Thanks for reading friends! Happy New Year!!!!