Fleur de Sel Caramels

January 13, 2012

I’m about to spill my “secret” recipe:

Dear Ms. Garten,

I wanted to thank you for your Fleur de Sel Caramel recipe.

I got married this past October and decided to make one thousand of your fleur de sel caramels as favors for my guests. I had made single or double batches before–for a New Year’s Eve dinner party, and as birthday gifts, but it was a much bigger project than I anticipated. It was also a huge success for a number of reasons.

My mom and I had a tough time through my wedding planning. Our normally wonderful relationship had turned contentious and by the last weekend in September, when I made the caramels, we were barely speaking. In a way, making the candies brought us back together, put us back on the same page. My Manhattan kitchen is far too small to make a thousand of anything, or refrigerator is slimmer than normal. I turned to my mom’s suburban kitchen for the weekend, aided with her extra fridge in the garage. It turned out that making the batches of sweets went fairly quickly, but wrapping up a thousand caramels took a long time. I went about it all day, watching the sugar turn that deep brown, eyeing the thermometer, preparing pans with parchment and measuring out cream. At midnight, my parents came home from an event, and I still had hours of wrapping left.

Our stand-off, the tension that had built up between us melted and dissolved as she helped me cut squares of wax paper and we stood at the counter, twisting up the wrappers. It softened and sweetened the whole thing, to the point where we were laughing at two in the in the morning, our fingers sticky and sweet and salty. We were married at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and our guests were full of delicious food, and they still managed to complement your delicious fleur de sel caramels.

The experience also confirmed that I want to go to culinary school as soon as possible. I’m currently pursuing a masters of international affairs, and it’s just not right. I heard you speak last year at the 92nd Street Y and your career trajectory was more inspiring than you know.

Thank you.

Brooke Lewy



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