Sea Salt Caramel Fudge & Hot Chocolate on a Stick

By Kate Riley December 14, 2015

This time of year like so many I indulge in baking sweet treats. This year my favorite culinary delight is sea salt caramel fudge. I love the divine medley of dense rich chocolate paired with sweet caramel and a dash of salt. I whipped up a batch over the weekend to give as gifts to teachers and girlfriends and wow is it delicious!

sea salt caramel fudge squares

I also turned the squares into cellophane wrapped hot chocolate on a stick to give as holiday gifts. Ingredients and printable label below!

packaged sea salt caramel hot chocolate on a stick

 

Sea Salt Caramel Fudge Ingredients

3 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk

1 cup half & half

8 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (two 4 oz. bars)

48 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

1 ¼ sticks salted butter (9 tablespoons)

1 ½ cup sugar

3 tbsp light corn syrup

parchment paper

sea salt flakes

nonstick cooking spray

candy thermometer

8 x 12″ metal baking pan

Makes 25-30 squares.

   squares of sea salt caramel fudge

   

First make the chocolate fudge base – ingredients:

2 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk

1 cup half & half

48 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

8 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (two 4 oz. bars)

parchment paper

nonstick cooking spray

8 x 12″ baking pan

To make the fudge, combine two 14 oz. cans of the sweetened condensed milk with 1 cup of half & half in a large pot and stir them together over low heat. Slowly add in the chocolate chips and unsweetened baking chocolate (break the baking chocolate bars into small pieces first). Stir constantly over medium low heat until chocolate is completely melted (5 to 8 minutes) and to avoid burning. Pour melted chocolate into baking pan lined with parchment paper (sprayed lightly with nonstick cooking spray). I’ve also cooked the fudge in two batches by cutting the recipe in half and cooking two batches in a row, that also works. Allow fudge to completely cool for 5 to 6 hours.

  pan of fudge

To make the caramel top yes you will need a candy thermometer. A lot of people read that and think “oh nevermind” and will never make this. Great caramel is all about temperature and unless you’re an expert and can tell the exact moment when it’s ready, a candy thermometer is an essential tool for the perfect caramel top. DON’T BE AFRAID! Once you make caramel, you’ll be hooked and you’ll use that thermometer again and again. You can find a candy thermometer in larger grocery stores or in kitchen supply stores.

Caramel & Sea Salt Top Ingredients

1 ¼ sticks salted butter (9 tablespoons)

1 ½ cups sugar

3 tbsp light corn syrup

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

candy thermometer

sea salt flakes

To make the caramel top, melt the butter on low heat then add the sugar, combining the melted butter and sugar so they’re blended together. Next add the corn syrup and 1 can of 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk. Bring the entire mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir constantly until mixture turns a golden brown. This takes anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes depending on your altitude, you’ll be looking for it to turn the color of peanut butter. My town is close to the California coast and only 30′ above sea level so it takes my caramel about 10 minutes to cook to the proper temperature after the boiling point.

Be sure to insert the candy thermometer after a few minutes of stirring and when it reaches 246 degrees turn off the heat and pull the pot from the burner. Spoon a thin amount of the caramel over the fudge base and quickly smooth it out before the surface of the chocolate base melts. After you spread the caramel, sprinkle it with sea salt flakes.

  spread caramel

 sprinkle salt on top

Note when making caramel, temperature is key and cooking time is affected by altitude. 246 is the temperature I’ve used for years for making basic candy caramels. If you have never made caramel before it’s a good idea to experiment with a batch of caramel candy first to get the hang of it. (Use the recipe above and pour into a baking sheet covered with parchment paper to test the right amount of cooking time at your altitude).

My good friend who lives down the road from me swears by 245 degrees and her caramels are always soft, chewy, and delicious. For this project I believe between 246 and 247 is ideal, if you want that caramel topping just a hiiiiint harder than chewy candy caramels choose 247. I cooked my caramel to 247 degrees on this most recent batch and the caramel was soft but also crumbly in places, still delicious but also easier to cut. If you want your caramel slightly softer, stop cooking it at 246 degrees.

Allow the sea salt caramel fudge to cool for an hour.

 full sheet sea salt caramel fudge

With a sharp knife, trim the rough edges then cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch squares – it helps to rinse off the knife after a few cuts for cleaner edges of fudge.

trim edge with sharp knife

 tray of sea salt caramel fudge

These fudge squares are so delicious and wonderful to serve at parties or give as gifts! I imagine it would be amazing served alongside vanilla bean ice cream as a decadent dessert.

sea salt fudge squares

Kick it up a notch by turning the fudge into hot chocolate on a stick! I’ve seen basic hot chocolate on a stick sold in a few stores this season (Target and Anthropologie) – the homemade version makes very sweet gifts or a rich treat for yourself and the sea salt caramel topping adds a sophisticated flavor. I used candy sticks and cake pop cellophane packages from Michaels to package them.

sea salt caramel fudge on a stick

Melted squares of sea salt caramel fudge turned into hot chocolate, YUM ! You simply heat up 8 oz. of lowfat milk until it’s steaming hot then dip the fudge on a stick into the milk and let it melt for 2 minutes, wow the result is very rich and delicious flavor, perfect after a long day of playing in the snow…

stir in fudge

 melted sea salt caramel fudge

I created some labels and packaged up squares in cellophane tied with a glittery ribbon and homemade labels to give as gifts.

 sea salt caramel hot chocolate on a stick packages

 sea salt caramel hot chocolate labels

Download the front label here and the back directions here.

 sea salt caramel label

 directions label

I placed a few of each in small plaid gift bags I found at Michaels and I’ll be distributing them this week to friends.

 christmas gift bags

 

If you try the recipe, tell me how yours turn out!

 sea salt caramel hot chocolate on a stick

  sea salt caramel fudge

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7 comments

  1. This looks scrumptious Kate! My mouth is watering. Beautifully packaged, too. I can’t wait to whip up a batch this week!

  2. Mouthwatering! I love everything about this. I like how creative the packaging was. Thank you for sharing this easy recipe, Kate. Will definitely make one this holiday!

  3. I guess I will be the saddest person on this Christmas. I am on a diet and I have stomach problems so I can cook this for my relatives. Omg, they deserve to try this piece of heaven. Of course, the most important is that looks not that hard for making. Nom, Nom and Happy Holidays.

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