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Local goods: Crack Caramel

November 12, 2012|By Betty Hallock
  • L.A.-based Crack Caramel makes caramels with just brown sugar, butter, cream, Madagascar vanilla and Himalayan pink salt.
L.A.-based Crack Caramel makes caramels with just brown sugar, butter,… (Jennifer Gregori )

Local caramel fan turned caramel maker Jennifer Gregori recently launched Crack Caramel, whose small-batch caramels don't fall short of her tagline, "Really, truly, honestly the most delicious caramel you will ever chew."

Gregori says she didn't set out to make caramels. "Every year my husband and boys would forget to stuff my stocking," Gregori says, "so I'd order myself some Knudsen caramels from the East Coast. And then one year my older son gave me a candy thermometer.

"I was kind of annoyed. I cook, but I don't make candy."

Or, rather, she didn't. Several months later she pulled the candy thermometer out of a drawer and went into "weird mad scientist mode." And after a year of experimentation, tinkering and tweaking, she settled on a recipe she loved. But she hadn't thought of starting a caramel business until her daughter-in-law (now partner) convinced her that the caramels were too good not to.

Gregori uses only five ingredients: brown sugar, sweet cream butter (Danish Lurpak because that's what she eats on her toast every morning), organic heavy cream, Madagascar vanilla and pink Himalayan salt (what's usually in her cupboard, originally a gift from her mother-in-law). That's it -- no corn syrup, no glucose, no stabilizers. Without these, they are just the right amount of sugary and buttery. And they must be made in very small batches and must be eaten fresh.

"We have to stock each week," says Gregori, who makes single batches on Thursdays, for delivery Fridays, on sale via her website and so far at a couple of retailers in Los Angeles: Heath Ceramics and Vamp Shoes

The caramels come as individually wrapped two-bite batches, as bars (pictured) and as lollipops ($12 to $55).

As for the name, it's not as much an allusion to "crack crack" (as in cocaine), says Gregori, as it is to the various stages of candy making. "The word 'crack' kept coming up" when experimenting -- soft crack, hard crack, unwanted cracks in sheets of caramels. And "I liked the alliteration," she says.

Available at www.crackcaramel.com. Or contact (323) 521-9566 or crackcaramel@gmail.com.

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