For the past few years I have made salty caramel for my Grandma. It is a fun, edible holiday craft, but beware: this stuff is ADDICTIVE. The best recipe I've found is from the December 2008 issue of ReadyMade Magazine, although I'm sure Smitten Kitchen's version is also sublime.
Soft Caramels a la ReadyMade
Makes about 100 1" squares
2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsps ground sea salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
Step 1: Prepare an 11" x 7" pan with at least 1" sides with a sheet of parchment and set aside.
Step 2: Microwave or heat cream until warm and set aside - you do not want to use cold cream in step 4!
Step 3: In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine sugar and corn syrup; mix until there are no dry spots and use a pastry brush to push down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan.
Step 4: WEARING AN OVEN MITT, cook the mixture over high heat until it starts to turn golden. Immediately whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time. CAREFULLY whisk in cream, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition. The mixture will steam when you add the cream and the steam will burn you if it comes into contact with your skin! I know this from experience.
Step 5: Clip the candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches precisely 248 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 6: Remove from heat and whisk in salt and vanilla.
Step 7: Pour caramel into prepared pan and let sit for several hours or overnight.
Step 8: Turn the sheet of caramel onto a cutting board and refrigerate for 15 minutes
Step 9: With a knife or rotary cutter, cut the caramel into 1" square pieces and individually wrap them in parchment paper.
PS: My husband gave me my Christmas present early... this adorable pillow from K studio! We named him William.