A candy thermometer is absolutely essential for this recipe. They’re inexpensive and a terrific tool for any serious kitchen.
- 1 cup whipping cream (35%)
- 5 tbsp smoked bacon fat (which is about the amount rendered by cooking one pound of bacon in the oven, on a rack or in a pan)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp water
- 3 strips of smoked bacon, chopped into a fine crumble sea salt, to garnish and season
Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil (or parchment) and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small pot combine the whipping cream and the bacon fat over medium heat, stir and watch closely until it reaches a simmer, then immediately remove from heat and set aside.
In a medium-sized pot, combine the salt, sugar, maple syrup and water. Make sure your pot is big enough for this caramel sauce to almost quadruple in size. Stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, insert the thermometer and cook, without stirring, until it reaches 330 F on the thermometer. The colour will have changed to a medium amber once it is ready.
When the sugar has reached temperature, begin whisking it and slowly drizzle in the hot cream and bacon fat. It will bubble and sputter so only pour in a small amount at a time, and use a long enough whisk or utensil to avoid burns.
Once all of the cream is whisked in, continue to cook the caramel, stirring frequently, until it reaches 255 F on the thermometer.
Pour the caramel into the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes then sprinkle the top with flaked sea salt and bacon bits.
Let the caramel set at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.
Once set, lift the caramel from the pan. Peel the foil or paper off the candy. It can be helpful to put the caramel block in the freezer before handling to ensure it doesn’t melt.
Use a knife that has been run under hot water to score the top, plan your cuts, then cut into small rectangles.
Wrap the caramels in small pieces of parchment paper, twisting at the ends. Store in a container in the fridge or a cool place for up to two weeks.
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Nova Scotia which recommends local bacon: Meadowbrook Meat Market or The Pork Shop and local maple syrup from Acadian Maple Products or Sugar Moon Farm.