Thursday, December 17, 2009
We're including handmade caramels as one of the gifts we're giving this Christmas. This recipe? Solid gold. The caramels are silky soft, absolutely delicious, and completely addictive.
Candy making is definitely a love it/hate it affair. Candy making is time consuming. I hand wrapped every.single.caramel. It was a labor of love.
I think it was worth it.
There are just a few simple rules to follow for this failproof caramel recipe:
1. use a candy thermometer,
2. have all of your ingredients and equipment at the ready, and
3. ensure your sugar stays in the middle of the sauce pan so as to avoid crystallization
On to the recipe.
Failproof Homemade Caramels
Makes about 60 (I cut my caramels approximately half the size of AmberLee's, so I got 120+)
2 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 - 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper. Allow parchment to rise up the sides rather than just lining the bottom of the sheet.
Cut butter into small cubes and melt over low heat in a medium size sauce pan.
Add and mix sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk. Remember to pour sugar in center of pan, and if any sugar crystals stick to the side of your pan, brush them down with a damp pastry brush.
Cook and stir on medium high heat until boiling, then clip your candy thermometer to the side of pan. Do not allow the thermometer to touch the bottom of the pan.
Reduce heat to medium or a temperature which allows for a steady, moderate boil. Stir often.
When the thermometer reaches 244F (this will take approximately 30 minutes), remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour the caramel into your prepared baking sheet - use caution! This is a very hot mixture.
Allow to cool overnight then use a pizza cutter to slice into desired slices. Another idea (but one that I have not tried) is using mini cookie or hor doeuvres cutters to create shaped caramels. Wrap each caramel in wax paper and twist the ends to close.
I found that cutting worked best for me after the caramels sat overnight, then spent some time in the freezer. I also froze the cut caramels prior to wrapping as they are quite soft when room temperature.