I like chocolate well enough, don’t get me wrong, especially in brownie, Nutella, fudge, or chocolate chip cookie form, but I don’t love it, don’t crave it, am not overcome with a wistful thousand-year-stare at the thought of it. But caramel, oh caramel, that’s a different story. And in continuing our October family reunion anniversary theme, this particular taste appears to have been inherited from my biological dad, who wrote me in an early getting-to-know-you email, I am partial to caramel. The average caramel apple didn’t fall far from that sapling, did it?
Now, no one has been happier about the advent of salted caramel as a trend, and I’ll remain devoted to the form long after various food culture lists declare it Over (which may have happened already, for all I know). The best thing about salted caramel is that it tends to be offered all on its own, rather than in combination with chocolate, which, to me, completely ruins both components. Alas, many “caramel fudge” recipes I’ve encountered really mean regular chocolate fudge WITH caramel, not a fudgy version of caramel all on its pure, glorious, buttery own.
So I set about to make a caramel confection that would stand all on its own, and if I could reduce the refined sugar in the recipe a bit with the help of Wholesome Sweetener’s coconut palm sugar, all the better. (I also used their organic brown sugar and natural cane sugar.)This is still very much a decadent treat, make no mistake. Yes, I post low-sugar, paleo goods all the time, and eat that way as my baseline. Everyone needs a little bona-fide treat now and again. Do I contradict myself? Very well. I contain multitudes.
SALTED CARAMEL FUDGE
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups coconut palm sugar
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt, coarse to coat
- Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract and final sea salt topping in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium. Stirring pretty much constantly, cook to softball stage, 235 degrees F on candy thermometer. Remove pan from heat, whisk in vanilla.
- Using a handheld electric mixer, beat until the mixture thickens and loses its glossy appearance, about 5-7 minutes or so. It will still be pourable, but slowly so, and with assertive encouragement of your spatula. Pour into a parchment-lined pan. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top. Chill at least 3 hours. Cut into squares.