These caramels are buttery smooth and delicious, it's hard to eat just one! They are also super easy to make, you just need some time. I recommend using a candy thermometer for accurate results. You can pick one up at a department or hardware store in the kitchen supply section for about $5.
I started with a basic caramel recipe from Joy of Baking. I don't buy corn syrup and after a bit of research discovered honey can be an acceptable substitute, which is perfect for a gal who has plenty of local unpasturized honey at her disposal. Have fun trying it out!
Salted Honey Caramels
1 1/2 cups heavy 'whipping' cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)
1 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup butter, diced
Extra salt for sprinkling
Line an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together the cream, sugars, honey and salt. Place the saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula. Once it is boiling, stop stirring and clamp a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan. Make sure the bottom of the thermometer isn't touching the bottom of the pan.
Every few minutes I take my rubber spatula and run it around the edge of the pan and give the works a stir. Keep checking your thermometer once it nears the 240 degree mark, because the hotter it gets, the quicker the temperature rises...aka don't try doing something else while you are making caramels or you will end up with rock hard candies that still taste amazing but are really hard to cut. Not that I've ever done that. Ahem.
Boil the mixture over medium high heat until the temperature reaches 250 degrees F. Once you've reached that sweet spot - I stop juuuust before the 250 degree mark - take it off the stove and stir in your butter and vanilla, mixing until all the butter has melted. Pour into your prepared pan. If you so desire, sprinkle a little kosher or flake salt on top right now. It looks pretty and if you like sweet/salty combinations, you'll love a bit of salt on top. If not, they are great as is. Then you can just call them "Honey Caramels." ;)
Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then pop it out by lifting the edges of the paper. Cut into pieces with a large knife. I like to wrap mine in wax paper and give as gifts in a beribboned treat bag. Another option is cutting them a bit smaller and dipping them in chocolate. Mmm. Share and enjoy!