Recipe: Caramels

I made caramels for the first time a couple weeks ago and wow were they tasty! The recipe is courtesy the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. For those of you, like myself, who aren't blessed with on-the-fly cooking ability, invest in any BHG cook book...I have 3! My grandpa was the first one to catch on that I wasn't much of a cook...and on Christmas, 1999, he gave me my first version of the BHG cook book with the inscription:

"To Eve -

Over the years, people will thank me for this.

- G'Pop, 1999"

Well, Grandpa, you were right!

And without further ado...the recipe!

1 c. chopped walnuts (optional) - I didn't choose to use
1 c. butter
1 16-oz. (2 1/2 c.) packed brown sugar
2 c. half-and-half or light cream - I used half-and-half
1 c. light-colored corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
*3 Quart saucepan *Candy thermometer

1. Line an 8x8 or 9x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of the pan. Butter the foil. If desired, sprinkle walnuts onto bottom of pan. Set pan aside.

2. In a heavy 3-Qt. saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, half-and-half or cream and corn syrup; mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer ti the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, till the thermometer registers 248-degrees Fahrenheit (firm ball stage.) 45-60 MINUTES. - I used a 2.5 Qt. pan and had a heck of a time having to constantly move the pan off of the heat to avoid boiling over...which meant it was a pain to maintain constant heat to get up to 248. It happened eventually, but a slightly larger pan would've been handy. Get comfortable if you go this route...you're here for an hour stirring. I watched TV in the kitchen. Trust me, it helps just to hear background noise!

3. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared pan. When caramel mixture is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Use a buttered knife to cut into 1-in. squares. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Makes about 2 pounds (64 pieces.) - Be patient letting the caramel cool. It will make it easier to cut. Mine took forever and I still didn't let it cool off enough. Eventually, I popped the caramels out of the pan upside down onto my counter and got to cutting. The 1-in. pieces seemed pretty large, so I went slightly smaller for most of mine. Enlist helpers to cut the caramels with a big, sharp knife (not kid-safe.) My hand hurt like the dickens doing it all alone! The plastic wrap was a buttery disaster, too. Use waxed paper, instead. Just place the candy onto a rectangle of waxed paper, wrap around and twist ends. Makes for a better presentation, too!

SHORTCUT: Prepare as above, except substitute one 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk for the cream .This mixture will take less time to reach 248-degrees (about 15-20 minutes instead of 45-60 mins.)


HennHouse said...

Your caramels WERE dynamite! Thanks for sending them to work with D.

Mrs. B said...

Oh boy, yum-oh, realllllly wanting them just looking at them. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the tips!

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