Honey Cream Caramels were one of my favorite recipes from last year and definately a favorite from the Sweet Melissa Sundays baking group. The recipe we were supposed to make was actually the Chocolate Cream Caramel version but I opted to make the honey version with fleur de sel. I love them so much and have made them several times since.
When Carmen of Baking is My Zen chose Honey Cream Caramels for this week's recipe, I decided to jazz them up a bit. Derby Day is the first Saturday in May and when the Kentucky Derby is run. While not officially a holiday, it is a major event here in Kentucky filled with mint juleps, hats, parties, celebrities, and of course horses. It is an event that demonstrates and personifies Southern hospitality, tradition and eccentricities and one of the many reasons I love my old Kentucky home.
There is a famous pie associated with the Derby but its name is so heavily trademarked that the many knock offs of it use other names; First Saturday in May Pie, Run for the Roses Pie, Not Derby Pie. Basically a nut pie with chocolate chips and a splash of bourbon, it is rich and delicous. I decided to incorporate these flavors into the caramels to create Derby Day Caramels.
I started by adding bourbon and toasted pecans to the caramels after they reached the firm ball stage. A sprinkle of fleur de sel across the top and left them to cool Once cooled, I drizzled chocolate across the top and cut them into squares. What I love about this caramel recipe is the wonderful soft, chewy texture and the honey flavor. The bourbon added subtle flavor and the toasted pecans and chocolate were gilding the lily.
This was an awesome candy and a fitting tribute to Derby Day. Please visit Carmen's site for the recipe.