December 19, 2012
This recipe came to us from one of my husband's aunts. And not having any candy-making experience, I can tell you I found it a little daunting at first.
(In fact I completely botched the first batch - keep an eye on that temperature.)
But the ingredients are simple and inexpensive, and really, it's a fairly easy recipe after all - one that makes for a sweet last-minute gift or an unexpected addition to your cookie tray.
Keep in mind, though, that since you're working with molten sugar, this isn't something to try with kiddos. It's more of an after-bedtime project, I would say.
A candy thermometer
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of light corn syrup
2 sticks of salted butter (half a pound)
A dash of salt
A 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
A bowl of ice water - keep this nearby while you're cooking
A cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
Wax paper, cut into small squares (4 inches or so works nicely)
Step 1: Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Step 2: Add the sweetened condensed milk.
Step 3: Continue stirring and stop cooking just before the temperature reaches 240 degrees. (For most of the time you're cooking it, the mixture will have a buttery color. Not until the temperature gets closer to 240 degrees will it darken, so don't worry). Using your spoon, drizzle some caramel into the ice water to cool it. Then, have a taste.
Step 4: If you're happy with the flavor and texture, carefully pour the caramel into your prepared cookie sheet.
Step 5: Let the candy cool, then cut into small chunks. No need to be super precise - it's homemade! Roll each piece inside a wax paper square and twist the ends closed. (I also tried using foil candy wrappers, purchased from a craft store. But I thought the wax paper was much easier to work with and prettier too).
This recipe will give you many, many dozens of caramels. We're sharing with co-workers and neighbors ... and I'm very tempted to set some aside for caramel corn.