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Chewy, buttery, sweet, smooth, delicious caramels. I can’t tell you how long I’ve thought about making these. I often make fudge and toffee for holiday gifts so caramels were a natural next step. They are sort-of half way between fudge and toffee with a very similar cooking process. And candy making is much easier than you would think. Cook and stir until you reach the right temperature and allow it to set until cooled.
I know nothing seems quite that easy but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be stirring up candies to include in all your holiday gifts.
When I decided to make caramels I did my research comparing recipes, ratings and ingredients. I was looking for a simple, pure caramel taste and finally decided to try one posted by Gerry at Foodness Gracious. Gerry’s recipe calls for browned butter but I made a few adjustments and was very happy with the end result. His caramel may be much better but I haven’t tried it yet!
I love Gerry’s instructions and he has some great tips about texture, chewiness and wonderful add-in ideas.
My tips for you are buy a good candy thermometer and a very good, heavy bottom sauce pan. I have never used a thermometer when making fudge or toffee. My mom taught me how to test the mixture using the soft ball method and hard crack stage for the toffee. Now that I’ve finally found a candy thermometer that works and is easy to use, I may rely on it’s accuracy from now on. It really takes the guess work out of candy recipes. I purchased a Food Network Thermometer at Kohl’s. I don’t know if they still carry it but here’s a link: Kohl’s – Food Network Candy Thermometer.
I didn’t make an “A” in the caramel cutting class, as each one was a different size and sometimes a different shape as well. No worries, once you wrap them all up nobody will know, or care for that matter. I hope you enjoy the caramels and don’t forget to share!
Simple Butter Caramels
(adapted from a recipe by Gerry @ Foodness Gracious)
1 stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
dash sea salt, plus a little extra to sprinkle on top if desired
Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Make sure the paper hangs over the side to help in removing the caramel from the pan.
Combine the butter, sugar, cream, and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottom sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium – medium/high heat. Turn the heat down to medium, or just below, to maintain a boil. Don’t cook it too fast or it can get away from you and you’ll have burnt caramel. Stir frequently and continue cooking until it reaches 243 on a candy thermometer. If you prefer a softer caramel, take off the heat at 240. Cook a bit longer to 250 degrees if you want a very chewy treat.
Stir in the vanilla.
Pour the caramel into the prepared pan and allow it to cool completely. Cut into bite size pieces and wrap in wax paper squares. I cut my wrappers in about 4×4 inch pieces. You can also purchase pre-cut candy wrappers at any craft store. Store in an airtight container.
I can’t remember being this prepared for Christmas, this early in December. We’ve bought almost all our gifts but I still have to wrap. The tree is up, the decorations are done and I’m ready for a short trip to visit family and friends. I participated in the Great Blogger Cookie Swap this year and mailed my cookies out today. I’ll post those cookies on December 12th. Can’t wait!
I also look forward to baking more new-to-me recipes for the holidays. I hope you are having fun in the kitchen and may all your recipes turn out perfect! Thanks so much for stopping by!