Time changes with the leaves. As I watched the first leaf of autumn tumble and weave through the wind from the security of its resting place, I could not help but stand in pure wonder. For this moment, this one moment, this spray has the stage. It has grown strong, withstanding the earth’s beating and here it is, giving itself up for the season, for the beautiful display that surrounds me. It dances, slowly weaving and tumbling. And for that one moment, this ruby and amber specked leaf has the floor. It is gently swept to the ground, left to be the first to fall, and soon to be joined by many others. It’s whole existence ends with a whisper. But oh, what a sweet whisper.
These caramels remind me of the untold leaves that scatter through the grass on an autumn day, russet and elegant. Even the sound of the bubbling sugar cooking away reminds me of stepping onto crisp, fallen leaves. So as you unwrap one of these treasures, listen to the crackling of the paper and let it remind you of the marvel of leaves crunching under your feet. Hear that? Oh, what a sweet whisper.
“In God, every end is converted into a new means”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recipe: Adapted from How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten
Makes 16 pieces
1 ½ cups of sugar
¼ cup of water
¼ cup of light corn syrup
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
5 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt (or 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt), plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon of vanilla
In a square, 8-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper that hangs over the edge by at least 2 inches (this will act as your handle to get the caramels out the of the pan.) Brush the bottoms and side of the pan with vegetable oil. Set aside.
In a medium sized saucepan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Boil on medium-high heat until the sugar turns amber. Never stir the sugar at this stage, just swirl the pan. If you end up stirring, the sugar will crystallize.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat cream, butter and salt until the mixture simmers. Set aside.
Whenever the sugar mixture browns, take it off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture. Be careful because the mixture will bubble up rapidly! Add the vanilla and stir. Put the mixture back onto a medium heat and cook the caramel until a candy thermometer hits 245-2480 (firm ball stage.) Take off heat and pour into the prepared parchment lined baking dish. Let the caramel set in the fridge for an hour or two until completely cooled.
Once set, take the caramel out of the square pan and cut in half. Roll each half lengthwise (jellyroll style) into an 8-inch rope. Cut the rope in half and continue cutting each piece in half until there are 8 equal pieces. Repeat with the other rope. Sprinkle the tops of the caramel with fine sea salt. Wrap each piece with a 4×5 inch piece of parchment paper and keep in fridge until ready to enjoy!