I made these as a present for a coworker at our holiday gift exchange. I went shopping for wax candy wrappers, as the recipe suggested, but I found only foil ones, which actually turned out to be a good thing as the candy ended up sticking to wax paper and parchment. I also found an inexpensive candy box at the same store (my favorite restaurant supply store in LA) that fit 24 wrapped candies. Paired with a gift card to the trendy frozen yogurt store that keeps popping up all around town, I thought it made a great gift (and apologies for sounding self-satisfied—a big pet peeve of mine).
Lavender Sea Salt Chocolate Caramels
very slightly adapted from Epicurious.com
-2 cups heavy cream
-10 1/2 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao, if marked), finely chopped*
-1 3/4 cup sugar
-1/2 cup light corn syrup
-1/4 cup water
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3 tablespoons flaky sea salt, such as Maldon*
-vegetable oil for greasing
Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch straight-sided metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment. Bring cream just to a boil in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat, then remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Bring sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling pan occasionally, until sugar is deep golden, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour in chocolate mixture (syrup will bubble and steam vigorously—stand back). Continue to boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 255° on thermometer, about 15 minutes. Add butter, stirring until completely melted, then immediately pour into lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to bottom or side of pan). Let caramel stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Cool completely in pan on rack, about 2 hours.
Carefully invert caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board, then peel off parchment. Turn caramel salt side up. Lightly oil blade of a large, heavy knife and cut into 1-inch squares.
*I bought, both for this occasion and for general use, a 4-lb box of Valrhona 55% Chocolate Bâtons. I can’t tell whether or not there are any stabilizers, because the ingredient list is in French, but they melted up beautifully.
*I used Lavender Sea Salt, but that is obviously up to you. You could use another herb, or just plain sea salt. The brand of mine is the girl & the fig.