Friday, October 15, 2010

Genetic Predisposition

Without fail I utter the words "I could really go for a sweet treat" approximately 30 minutes after I eat dinner every night. While one might think this is a bit odd both my cousins Katie + Krissy have the same daily ritual.  When I was trying to think about where this behavior may have originated I immediately thought of our Grandma Dorry, who religiously ate a sweet treat EVERY night before she went to bed.

 Wednesday would have been Grandma Dorry's 84th birthday + our family in Chicago gets together every year for a special dinner to celebrate her life. Since my cousins + I are split between New York + San Francisco we can never make it.  This year Katie, my New York based cousin + I decided to have our own celebration, order dinner + make one of our Grandma's favorite sweet treats, caramel candies.  To complete our night we video chatted with Krissy in San Fran to catch up, reminisce + laugh a lot.

Riding in the taxi back to my apartment that night I couldn't help but be a little sad that it has been 4 years since we've actually been able to spend my Grandma's birthday with her.  As I felt tears begin to well up I was reminded of the sweetest treat of all, my family, who all in our own special way allow her legacy to live on through the traditions that she taught us + other traits we are genetically predisposed to.


Fleur De Sel Caramels {adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook}

Grocery List

1.5 cups heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Dry Goods
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Spice Cabinet
1 teaspoon Fleur De Sel {plus extra for sprinkling!}

Game Plan

Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then brush the paper lightly with oil, allowing the paper to drape over 2 sides.
In a deep saucepan (6 inches diameter by 4 1/2 inches deep) combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown color. Don't stir - just swirl the pan to mix. Watch carefully, as it will burn quickly at the end!
In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and 1 teaspoon fleur de sel to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, set aside and keep warm.
When the caramelized sugar is the right color, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel - it will boil up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer. Be patient with this step and it will get there. Very carefully (it's hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate until firm.
When the caramels are cool, use the parchment paper to pry the sheet from the pan onto a cutting board. Starting at 1 end, roll the caramel up tightly until you've rolled up half of the sheet. Cut the sheet across and then roll the second half tightly. You will have 2 (1 by 8-inch) logs. Sprinkle both logs lightly with fleur de sel, cut each log in 8 pieces. Cut parchment papers in 6 by 4 1/2-inch squares and wrap each caramel in a paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or at room temperature.




  1. I love your blog! I also LOVE the name! Super cute!

  2. What a great post prima. I love you + I'm so glad I was able to video chat with you guys! xo

  3. Hi Amanda-

    Thanks for the blog love, I am new to the blog world so your encouragement means the world!


    I heart you + miss you more than you know-San Fran feels so far away but I am so excited for you + your pastry school adventures! I love our prima time whether it's being left @ a restaurant by our family, getting a sweet treat at a cute little bakery, driving cross country listening to "Man In The Mirror" full blast or just spending quality prima time. Video chat date soon!


  4. Love your blog Jules! You're a natural at this! Miss you!

  5. Hola mi madre!

    Thanks for the kudos! I'm really enjoying the blog life, it's just the creative outlet I needed. Can't wait to see you over Thanksgiving, I miss you like crazy too. I also know two little yorkies that can't wait to see you as well!


  6. That sounds so good!