These little beauties are totally worth a bit of effort –
with a rich buttery flavour, a lusciously chewy texture and a deep golden
colour sprinkled with a pinch of sea-salt, which might seem like an odd
addition, but really makes the flavour pop. You’ll need to find some sweet
wrappers for them, because homemade versions will stick – I found mine in my
favourite local kitchen shop, but you can also find them online very easily. You’ll
also need a cooking thermometer.
This recipe was inspired by The Sweet Shop Recipe Book, a
present from my lovely Gran.
Coarse sea salt, to sprinkle on top
To start, line a square brownie tin with greaseproof
paper – make sure you leave a frill of paper sticking up around the edge of the
tin, so you’ll be able to lift out the end result really easily.
Gently heat the cream in a large pan, over a low-medium
heat. Use a sharp knife to split open the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into
the pan with the point of the knife. Keep an eye on the cream while you move on
to the next stage. When it starts to froth and give off wisps of steam, it’s
ready – you must be very careful not to boil it. A slight seething is okay.
In another pan, heat the golden syrup and sugar until it
reaches 154°C (310°F). At this point, add the butter and a large pinch of salt,
and then the cream. Stir briefly to combine and then bring the whole mixture back
up to 120°C (248°F).
When the mixture is up to temperature, pour the caramel
into the prepared tin, and gently smooth with a spatula to pop any big bubbles
on the surface – don’t worry too much about the little ones. Sprinkle generously
with sea-salt, and leave to cool completely for at least three hours.
When the caramel is set, lift out onto a clean chopping
board and cut up with a very sharp knife – as the texture is slightly chewy,
you’ll need to cut (i.e. press straight down) rather than slice (i.e. drag the
knife through the mixture). Wrap each piece in the foils and serve with coffee
after dinner – fabulous.