Heavy cream, espresso powder, sea salt and honey are the only four ingredients you need to create these chewy delights for yourself. While some people shy away from recipes that use the candy thermometers, it is really not that scary and this would be a fun way to get you started! It is quite important in these types of recipes to use a thermometer though as you need to get the temperature of the candy high enough so it will set correctly as it cools.
Most caramel recipes I've read or made have you cook the mixture until it is anywhere from 234 degrees up through 250 degress depending on how firm you want the resulting candy to be. However, since this recipe is a little untraditional, Heidi noted that she had to bring her mixture up to 260 degrees (hard ball stage) for it to set firmly enough - I took mine off the heat at 258 degrees and liked the resulting texture. If you want your caramels to have flecks of espresso throughout the candy, you can just use ground espresso - I only had instant espresso powder on hand which melted into the caramels and gave them a slightly deeper color.
They are caramels after all so they are quite sweet; however, using honey instead of granulated or brown sugar with the addition of sea salt helped to keep them from being tooth-achingly sweet. The shiny pieces are firm enough to keep their shape when you cut them, yet they are satisfyingly chewy and soft. When I took my first bite I prepared myself for an overwhelming espresso flavor, but I was quickly surprised with how much of a lush honey flavor swept around my tongue. The espresso was very faint and we talked about adding a touch more next time, but after thinking about it we both agreed that it was actually just right and any more might taint the fantastic honey taste. Once we cut them into rectangles , we cut a couple pieces of wax paper to determine what size would work the best to wrap them and then used that piece as a template to mass cut the rest. I think these might just have to find a spot in the upcoming Christmas baking bonanza!