Salted Soy Sauce Caramel Bites Ganjang Caramel Recipe

One of the things I always try to hunt down whenever I visit Korea are these beautifully packaged milk caramel bites. Often found in convenience stores, these perfectly bite-sized squared caramels come individually wrapped in silver foiled paper; they are a classic confectionery, loved by all for their milky toffee-like taste and softly chewy texture.

A few years ago, I came across another caramel that was seasoned with soy sauce. It gave the caramel a depth of umami salinity that was subtly detectable. I always like to add a sprinkle of salt to my sweet things, as I feel it balances and accentuates the sweetness, the same way that I think sugar can make things taste more savoury. The soy sauce and salt used here layer different kinds of salty flavour, which I think is rather nice.

This recipe is extracted from Pocha by Su Scott (Quadrille, £27), Photography by Toby Scott

TRY: Check out Su Scott's recipes for Crispy Seaweed Roll Gimmari & Northern-Style Kimchi Dumpling (Ibuksik Kimchi Mandu)!

Ingredients for Salted Soy Sauce Caramel Bites Ganjang Caramel

How to make Salted Soy Sauce Caramel Bites Ganjang Caramel

  1. Line a 10 x 15cm (4 x 6in) baking tray or container with parchment paper and lightly grease it with vegetable oil. 

  2. Put the double cream, milk, soy sauce and vanilla bean paste in a small saucepan. Place the pan over a low heat to gently warm the mixture, making sure it doesn’t boil. 

  3. Put the sugar, jocheong, water and lemon juice into a heavy-based saucepan and swirl the pan around a little so the sugar is saturated in liquid. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat without disturbing the pan too much, then simmer for 5–7 minutes until the sugar has turned golden brown in colour and reached 125ºC (257ºF). 

  4. Carefully stir in the warm cream and milk mixture. Simmer steadily over a low heat for about 20 minutes to caramelize the mixture, stirring frequently to stop the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan. You should notice small bubbles erupting as it thickens. The colour should have darkened to a shade of butterscotch and the temperature should be 125ºC (257ºF). You can also check it is ready by dropping a small amount of mixture into a bowl of cold water. If it holds its shape firmly and doesn’t make the water murky, it’s done. 

  5. Stir in the butter to incorporate, then remove from the heat. 

  6. Carefully pour the caramel into the prepared tray. Wiggle the tray a little to help it spread. Sprinkle the top with a good pinch of salt. Leave to cool slightly, then transfer to the fridge to set for 4–6 hours. When done, remove from the fridge and slice the caramel with a sharp knife into 2cm (3/4 in) squares. 

  7. Once cut, you can wrap them individually in parchment paper, if you wish. 

  8. Store them in the fridge, in an airtight container lined with lightly greased paper to keep them separated. 

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