Okay, I know what you must be thinking – say whaaaaaaat? Duck up in your caramel? She crazy! But just trust me little ones, these little bites of Heaven are truly divine.
A couple of months ago the good people at D’Artagnan sent me a cooler full of duck fat to play around with in the kitchen. They’re a company that’s well known for their duck products, but also have a plethora of other wonderful gourmet products available online.
You can use duck fat as you would use butter, great for sauteeing some veggies or roasting some potatoes. Adding an incredible richness and depth of flavor that you just don’t attain with butter or olive oil. I’ve been using it to make a vinaigrette for my salad, which it lends itself perfectly for this chilly weather that’s finally come our way. It’s also great in biscuits or pie dough. And, as it turns out – salted caramels!
This recipe has always been a winner for me, so I just adapted it by adding rendered duck fat in place of the butter. They are rich and chewy, with a wonderful silkiness. If you’re afraid they will taste “ducky”, don’t be! While duck fat has a different flavor than butter, more savory – I think the biggest difference is the texture on the tongue. It’s super smooth and silky, with a heavier mouth-feel than butter or oil…and that definitely transcends into the caramels.
I topped off with a bit of my current favorite sea salt (if you haven’t tried Maldon yet, do it!) for a salty, crunchy bite that pairs perfectly with the rich sweetness of the caramels. Sliced and wrapped up in pieces of wax paper, they make a wonderful homemade gift that is as unique as it is delicious.
Duck Fat Caramels
1 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons duck fat, chilled
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tsp sea salt
Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly butter the parchment.
Bring cream, duck fat, vanilla, and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
Carefully stir cream mixture into the caramel (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 248 on candy thermometer. Pour into baking pan and cool 45 minutes. Cut into 1-inch pieces (I buttered a pizza cutter), top each piece with a small pinch of salt, and wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.
Source: adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Disclaimer: I received products from D’Artagnan for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.