Saturday, March 17, 2012

Irish Whiskey Salted Caramels

Irish Whiskey Caramels

It's St. Patrick's Day! Before you go out and get sloshed, I think you should spare a moment to whip up a batch of these delicious caramels. Or, if you should somehow have any whiskey left after the holiday, use up the extra!

I love making caramel, and these soft caramels may be my favorite batch so far. While the addition of whiskey here may not get ya drunk, it definitely adds a depth of flavor you wouldn't get otherwise. Between the chewy melt-in-your-mouth texture, hint of whiskey, the lovely dots of fresh vanilla bean, and delicate crunch of salt, I'd say these are just about perfect.

Wrap them up as a little gift, or stash them away and eat them all yourself!

Irish Whiskey Caramels  

Irish Whiskey Salted Caramels

Makes 30-45 candies, depending on how you cut them
1 cup heavy cream
5 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp coarse salt, such as fleur de sel, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup Irish whiskey, such as Jameson
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds removed and reserved
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water

1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine cream, butter, salt, whiskey, and vanilla bean & reserved seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy bottomed 3 or 4 quart pot. Gently mix to moisten all of the sugar, then use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium to medium-high heat without stirring. When the sugar begins to darken in color and smell like caramel, gently swirl the pot until it turns a medium amber. Don't over do the caramelization here, it will darken further when you cook it with the cream mixture.

4. Remove from the heat and slowly and carefully add the cream mixture (remove the full vanilla bean first). It will bubble and simmer hard for a bit, and then settle down. Whisk vigorously as it starts to slow and once it stops simmering, return to medium-low heat and simmer until the temperature reads 248F on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes or so, giving it a good whisking every couple minutes. Pour into the prepared baking pan, let it cool for a minute or 2 and then sprinkle with a little additional salt. Let cool at room temp for at least 2 hours, then cut into desired size with a very sharp knife and wrap in squares of wax paper. Store in an airtight container.


  1. Are they chewy, do they stick to the teeth? How buttery would you say they are on a scale of one to ten?! haha, all important questions I hope you don't mind me asking *blushes*

    Brilliant idea, whiskey-toffee MUST be a delightful combination.

    1. They have a slight chew, but at room temperature in my house (65-70F) they don't stick to your teeth, they melt in your mouth. On the butteriness scale, I'd give it about a 6 - the flavor of a quality butter shines through, but they aren't greasy! I hope that helps :D

  2. I made these last week with hazelnut liquor and they were SO good. I sent them to a bachelor party with my husband, as he rolled his eyes at me :), and he came back saying they were inhaled. DUH, they're delicious!

  3. I just made these to put in chocolate macarons and they are delicious! They are perfectly soft enough to go inside without shocking anyone by biting into something hard when you arent expecting it :)

  4. I make these every year with a different whiskey. They are always delicious! And your instructions made me not fear making caramel! Thank you!