Carmen’s Mexican Chocolate Caramels

Some people are so sweet that you feel the need to make them their own candy.  Carmen is one of those folks.

INGREDIENTS


2
cups heavy cream
24 small dried red chiles seeds removed, broken into ½-inch pieces
10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
3 teaspoons cinnamon
cups granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
2 teaspoons fleur de sel or other type of flaky sea salt

DIRECTIONS

Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with two perpendicular pieces of parchment paper, so that there is overhang on all four sides. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, add the chile pieces, give it a quick stir, remove from heat, and cover. Allow the chiles to steep in the cream for at least 30 minutes. Remove the chile pieces with a slotted spoon and discard.
Return the strained cream to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low, add both chocolates and the cinnamon. Let stand for 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bring the sugar, syrup, water, and table salt to a boil in a 5 to 6-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Boil, uncovered, without stirring but gently swirling the pot occasionally, until the sugar is a deep golden color, about 10 minutes.
Tilt the pot slightly and carefully pour the chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture (it will bubble and steam quite a bit). Continue to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 255 degrees F.
Add the butter, stirring until it has completely melted, then immediately pour the caramel mixture into the lined baking pan (do not scrape any caramel clinging to the bottom or side of the pot, as these pieces will have crystallized). Let the caramel stand for 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with the fleur de sel. Allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.

Using the parchment overhangs as handles, carefully lift the caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board. Spray a pizza cutter or large knife with non-stick cooking spray and slice the caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap the candies individually and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

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