"These little caramels seem innocent enough at first glance, but I love watching people’s reaction when they taste them for the first time," says chef Sean Brock. "The fruity olive oil is such a great surprise!" Look for sorghum syrup online or at natural food stores. In a pinch, unsulfured molasses can be substituted.

Makes about 7 dozen


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup sorghum syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon


    Active time: 1 hour
    Total time: 2 1/2 hours

    Line a 9-inch square pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on 2 opposite sides to use later as handles. Lightly grease foil with cooking spray. In a small pot, bring cream and 1/4 cup oil just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Halve vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds. Whisk seeds gently into cream mixture. Cover and set aside.

    In a medium, heavy-bottomed, high-sided pot, heat sugar and sorghum over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture just comes to a boil, about 5 minutes. Clip a candy thermometer securely to inside of pot and continue to cook, without stirring, until it registers 245°, about 3 minutes more. Quickly remove pot from heat and carefully add warm cream mixture. Once bubbling has subsided, use a wooden spoon to stir until combined.

    Return pot to medium heat and cook again, without stirring, until thermometer registers 250°, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully stir in butter and remaining 1/4 cup oil until well combined. Pour caramel into prepared pan and set aside for 30 minutes. Sprinkle salt over top, pressing down gently to be sure it adheres. Refrigerate until completely firm, about 1 hour.

    Lift caramel out of pan using overhanging foil as handles. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1-inch squares, discarding foil. Wrap caramels in 4-inch squares of foil candy wrappers or wax paper. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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