Before I start blabbering about those beautiful caramels and also about one of the books I’ve recently read, let me stop you right away. I do not know a thing about Martha Stewart. Never seen her show. Never read her books. Never made a single of her recipes.
The closest I’ve gotten to Martha is the 2006 Christmas issue of Living. From the cover showing a beautiful rainbow of old-fashion Christmas ornaments to the hand-made parcel labels on page 58, I loved it. Simply gorgeous. And thoughtful too.

So I might be completely wrong, but as I was reading about Gus – Kate Jacobs’ Comfort Food central character – I couldn’t help but feel like I was in fact getting a grasp of Martha’s life (may it be my very own special Martha).

Gus is that woman I suspect many of you want to be. She can cook superbly. She has two beautiful daughters. And a very dear friend. She owns a lovely 7-bedroom mansion. And quite obviously, she has her own TV show and the appropriate books that go along with it.
Her only downside being the loss of her husband. And perhaps Carmen. You know, that younger and once Miss Spain woman the producers want on your show – yours and hers, that is.

And well, I loved reading about how Gus – who terrified to appear less than perfect, holds it all together – reacts; and how this situation affects her family dynamics. I’m sure you will love it as well. But given I’m terrible at book reviews, I can only suggest you buy the book. Read it. Then make the caramels au beurre salé I wanted to talk about in the first place.

Those things. They’re lovely. And totally make you feel like Gus, or Martha. Even our national domestic goddess – Nigella will do. This is all about instant gratification. Something that is easy to make, delicious to eat and wonderful to offer as a present.

And if you’re lucky enough to have your own show and doesn’t want that 30-something to, damn, co-host it; may I advise you to hand a little basket – adorned with a pretty ribbon if you feel like it – full of homemade soft caramels to your producer, who will love them and might hopefully die from suffocation after trying to swallow too many at a time.

Délicieux caramels au beurre salé

Caramels are one of those things that look very pretty – and happen to taste damn good, but that’s another story – but are somewhat messy to make.

First, when you add the butter and cream the mixture will seize. Don’t worry, just keep beating the hell out of it, and it will eventually turn into a sleek, glossy amber mixture. Then, when you slowly bring it to the appropriate temperature, it will form bubbles that will explode, looking like what I call the multi-mouths monster. And it just keeps getting worse and worse as it reaches 120°C.

Luckily, the finished products look neat. And yes, is totally to die for.

Délicieux caramels au beurre salé

makes 40

180g caster sugar
70g liquid glucose
20g water
3g fleur de sel
70g high-quality salted butter
200g double cream, scalded

Place the sugar, liquid glucose, water and salt into a pan set over low heat, and cook until light amber.
Off the heat, mix in the butter and cream; then cook over moderate heat, until the caramel reaches 120°C.
Meanwhile, line a 25x25cm square pan with baking paper. When the caramel reaches the right temperature, pour it into the prepared tin and allow to set for 3 hours at room temperature.
Using a sharp knife, slice the slab into fingers or squares. Wrap in film or paper.

pour une quarantaine

180g sucre en poudre
70g sirop de glucose
20g eau
3g fleur de sel
70g beurre demi-sel
200g crème 35%, bouillie puis tiédie

Mettre le sucre, sirop de glucose, eau et le sel dans une casserole et cuire à feu doux jusqu’à l’obtention d’un caramel ambré.
Ajouter le beurre et la crème et cuire jusqu’à 120°C.
Pendant que le caramel cuit, recouvrir un plat de 25x25cm avec du papier cuisson. Quand la température atteint 120°C, verser le caramel dans le plat et laisser prendre à température ambiante pendant au moins 3 heures.
En utilisant un couteau aiguisé, coupé la plaque de caramel en batonnets ou en carrés. Envelopper-les individuellement dans du film ou du papier cuisson.