Adapted from Jacques Pépin's Chez Jacques cookbook.
1⁄2 cup unsalted butter, diced, plus more for pan
Vegetable oil, for preparing pan
1⁄2 cup whipping cream (35%)
1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp water
1⁄4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
Maldon sea salt, to taste
Step 1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of 5" x 9" loaf pan and come 1" up the sides. Butter pan and line with parchment. Brush parchment lightly with oil.
Step 2. In small saucepan, heat cream, butter and vanilla until butter melts. Turn off heat.
Step 3. To medium saucepan, add water and corn syrup. Pour sugar in middle. Place pan over medium heat. When it starts to boil, attach candy thermometer to pan without it touching bottom of pan. Cook until temperature reaches 320°F, 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully add cream mixture in 4 stages, stirring with heatproof spatula each time. Use caution, as it will boil up dramatically.**
Step 4. Cook mixture until it reaches 240°F, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Let cool 30 minutes. Sprinkle top with Maldon salt. Cool completely. Wrap pan tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Step 5. Grab ends of parchment and pull caramel out of pan. With long, sharp knife, cut caramels into desired shape. Place in airtight container. Refrigerate up to 1 week, or freeze up to one month.
**Don't leave the stove when making this recipe; you need to keep a close eye on the thermometer, as the difference between soft and rock-hard caramels is only 10°F.
Watch Lynda Reeves and Eric Vellend make this recipe on HHTV.