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 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.