1 cup slivered almonds, roasted
2 1/4 cups sugar
3-4 drops lemon juice
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces
2 cups light cream
1 cup light corn syrup
2 vanilla beans
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel salt
Line a 9- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Spray well with cooking spray. Spread almonds in bottom.
Place sugar in a medium pot with lemon juice and 1/4 cup water. Stir and turn heat to high. Monitoring carefully, let color come to light brown, mixture will bubble. Add butter, cream and corn syrup, and stir. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of pot.
Reduce heat to medium and let mixture come to a gentle boil. Stirring frequently, continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (firm-ball stage) on candy thermometer; this may take up to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds; reserve, discarding pods.
Remove caramel from heat and stir in vanilla bean pulp. Quickly pour into prepared pan, pouring evenly over almonds. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with sea salt.
Let cool completely, and pull out foil from pan. Remove foil and cut caramels into 1 by 1 inch squares.
Serve, or wrap each one in plastic wrap or food-safe cellophane. Seal with tape or a little sticker, if desired, and store for up to 2 weeks.
YIELD: Approximate 64 pieces
SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of the California Almond Board