Ina Garten — better known as the Barefoot Contessa to many — is pretty much my idol. I love her down-to-earth from scratch approach to food. I find myself making more of her recipes than anyone else’s. My mom and I say stuff like, “Did you see Ina today?” and “You know, Ina’s roasted chicken is really the best.” It’s like we know her. Even if we don’t really know her, we really do love her.
If you haven’t tried them, her caramel sauce and caramel candies can’t be beat. In my final hurrah to homemade goodness for the holidays, I made a quadruple recipe of her fleur de sel caramel candies. The salty and sweet combo never fails.
First I gathered everything I needed.
Next, I got two pots going on the stove — one for the sugar mixture and the other for the cream and butter. If you ever wondered why caramel tastes so good, here’s why.
After cooking the sugar mixture until it was golden brown, I poured the cream and butter mixture into the sugar mixture and used a trusty candy thermometer to get it up to the right temperature.
I even got Jason in on the action.
After it was all ready, we (and yes, it really was a two person job) poured it into a prepared pan to let it cool.
After it cooled and hardened, I dumped it out onto a big cutting board and cut it into little bite-size pieces.
Don’t forget to add the fancy salt on top!
Next up was wrapping 200 of these little buggers.
And putting them into my little bags with, of course, my beloved labels I had made from my favorite place. Too fun!