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Fleur de Sel Caramels

2 cups heavy cream

10.5 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60 percent cacao), finely chopped

13/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon table salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 teaspoons best-quality French sea salt

Vegetable oil, for greasing pan

Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch, straight-sided, square metal baking pan with 2 long sheets of crisscrossed parchment.

In a quart-sized, heavy saucepan, bring the cream just to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce heat to low and add the chocolate. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat.

In a 5- to 6-quart, heavy pot, bring the sugar, corn syrup, table salt and 1/4 cup water to a boil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is deep golden, about 10 minutes. Tilt pan and carefully pour in chocolate mixture (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously). Continue to boil over moderate heat about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture registers 255 F on a candy thermometer. Add the butter, stirring until completely melted, then immediately pour into lined baking pan. (Do not scrape any caramel clinging to bottom or side of saucepan.)

Let caramel stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle top with the sea salt, adding more if necessary. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours.

Carefully invert caramel onto a clean, dry cutting board, then peel off parchment. Turn caramel salt-side up. Lightly oil the blade of a heavy knife and cut into 1-inch squares. Place on a wire rack to let caramels cool completely.

Remove caramels from wire rack and store, refrigerated, between sheets of waxed paper for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 64 candies.

Recipe courtesy of Sandy Dowling, chef and owner of The Willows Cooking School.