This Guinness and black salt caramel recipe is certainly one for Guinness lovers. We scratched our heads to come up with the perfect Guinness recipe for St Patrick's Day: Guinness and caramel ice cream, Guinness and chocolate bavarois... But then settled on something very simple and moreish: Guinness and black salt caramels.
The sweet caramel recipe is perfectly balanced with a grown-up savoury Guinness finish. Distant Palm Island in Hawaii – where the seawater is blended with activated charcoal in shallow salt marshes to form the black lava sea salt – may be a long way from Guinness's home in Ireland. Yet the added sprinkle of the Palm Island black lava sea salt crystals bring decoration, texture and hint of minerality.
The intense Guinness flavour is added to the recipe by reducing two pints of Guinness until you have just a few tablespoons of 'Guinness essence'.
Key to getting the perfect set for the Guinness salt caramels is to use a reliable cooking thermometer. Superfast Thermapen thermometers are miles ahead of all other cooking thermometers we've looked at, and they are the only thermometers we've come across with consistent rave reviews. For a soft set caramel which can still be easily cut into squares, cook the sugar to 118°C. For a firmer set caramel, closer to a toffee (see photos), let the mixture cook to just a little over 118°C.
Ingredients Serves: 12
- 1l Guinness Irish Stout (2 x 500ml bottles)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (for greasing)
- 115g unsalted butter, in cubes
- 120ml double cream
- 45g water
- 60ml light corn syrup
- 200g caster sugar
- A sprinkle of Black Lava Sea Salt
- Pour the Guinness into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep at a rolling boil and reduce until you have a thick syrup in the base of the pan - around 3-5 tbsp. This can take 30 to 60 minutes, however keep a careful eye on it as the last quarter can reduce and burn very quickly.
- Whilst the Guinness is reducing, oil a 9" x 5" loaf pan or roasting dish with vegetable oil. Cut a piece of baking paper large enough to line the bottom of the pan and come up the sides by at least an inch. Oil the baking paper and place inside the loaf pan.
- Heat the butter and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the butter has all melted. Set aside.
- Heat the water, corn syrup and sugar in a medium sized pan. When it comes to the boil cover the pan with a lid for 1 minute. The steam helps prevent the sugar from crystallising on the sides of the pan.
- Cook the sugar syrup until it starts to turn a light golden colour (165°C).
- Slowly pour in the cream/butter mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring and heat the mixture to 118°C - this will produce a soft caramel which holds its shape. Stir in the reduced Guinness and pour the caramel into your prepared dish.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes. Then evenly sprinkle over the black lava sea salt.
- Leave the caramel to set for 2 hours.
- Remove the block of caramel from the mould, peel away the baking parchment and cut into 1 inch squares.