The newly risen grass turns to a lovely shade of green. Little baby buds turn into fledgling leaves on the trees. The flowers of June start preparing to make their entrance up through the warming soil.
Boys and girls go through an annual right of passage. Preparing in earnest for that one magical night each year where they get to play at being a little older. While still maintaining the flush of youth.
Dresses are chosen and fitted to be "just so". The perfect shoes and jewelry are carefully selected far in advance. Last minute preparations are not to be tolerated - and are even potentially disastrous.
Hair and makeup are practiced and executed to perfection. Nothing less will do. For tonight is Prom...
Where Runner Girls shed their racing flats and pony tails...
...for heels and gowns.
And for a chosen few... A crown.
The mothers sigh. The fathers want to cry. For little girls almost lost to the future. Where sugar and spice and everything nice find a new way to shine. That's what Proms are made of.
And what sweet treat is worthy of such a fete?
Caramelized sugar with a taste of honey, laced with lavender.
Far easier to make than preparing a girl for her big night out...
Lavender & Honey Caramels
Adapted from The Gilded Fork
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp dried lavender buds
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks - and don't skimp, use the good stuff)
3/4 cup honey
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Fleur de Sel for sprinkling (a couple of pinches)
FYI - you will need a candy thermometer.
Prepare a 9" pan by lining with parchment paper (I like to let two sides hang over to help lift the caramels out of the pan). Butter parchment paper & sides of the pan lightly.
In a medium saucepan, bring both dairy products and the lavender to a boil. Once the mixture has boiled, remove from heat and allow to steep for a half hour. After the steeping period, strain the mixture through a fine sieve - reserve two cups of the lavender steeped milk. Discard the lavender.
In a 4-5 quart sauce pan (high sides are good here & a heavy pan is also good), combine the milk mixture, honey, butter & sugar. Secure candy thermometer to the side of the pan - making sure tip is under the liquid, but not touching the bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat - stir frequently. Bring to a full boil. If any of the mixture spurts up on the sides of the pan, brush down with a wet pastry brush.
When the thermometer reaches 240F, stir constantly until it reaches 248F. (I think the whole heating process took about 30 minutes or so). Immediately remove from heat - stir in vanilla & 1/2 tsp salt. Pour into prepared pan. (Tap pan on hard surface to even out mixture if needed). Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel - if you don't have any Fleur de Sel, just skip this part. Trust me, table salt won't cut it...
Cool mixture completely in refrigerator (~1-2 hours - depending how many times you go in and out of the refrigerator... just sayin'). Invert onto a cutting board and flip over so that "glossy" (and salted) side is facing up. Cut into little squares, or rectangles or whatever floats your boat. Keep them bite sized... Store in an airtight container in a cool, non-humid place - use parchment between the layers.