A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a taste is worth a thousand pictures! If you could just have one NIBBLE of these guys, you would drop what you are doing right now and rush to buy the ingredients to make yourself a batch of your own. In the time it’s taken me to type this intro, I’ve now consumed two of them, and I’m eyeing a third.
The first time I made these was for a Valentines gift for Tyler, while he was on a study abroad in London. I read that you need to wait until your candy thermometer reads 244 degrees to take the pot off heat. With a small college budget, I had barely scraped together enough to buy the heavy whipping cream and wax paper for this recipe. I couldn’t bear to spend six more dollars on a candy thermometer I don’t use regularly. I researched how to make candy without a thermoeter, and found some tricks about dropping your caramel in water to make a hard ball. Great! I just saved six bucks!
But alas, as I stirred my caramels on that maiden voyage, I had a really hard time telling if the heat had reached the appropriate level. Now, having made this about 15 times, I know what an uncomfortably long time it takes for caramel to reach 244 degrees! That first batch was ruined because it never hardened to a soft chewy consistency. It was more like caramel syrup for ice cream (which I’m pretty sure I recycled it for ice cream sundaes!) Needless to say, I had to run back to the grocery store to buy the pricey candy thermometer. And lo and behold- it worked! And a week later, Tyler had these sweet sweet caramels arrive in London.
Ever since that, I’ve used this recipe as my go-to for any quick gift (especially if I'm "giving" to a lot of people at once) It’s easy to put them in baggies and pass them out at work, or to my big families or neighbors & friends. Everyone who has ever received these caramels takes one bite and is head over heals for them. So here you go - the magical caramel recipe of your dreams:
Butter a 13 X 9 inch pan (glass is best) + set it aside for later.
Grab a large saucepan and add all ingredients below. Turn up the heat to medium. Stir often while heating. (Every minute or so - sometimes easiest to assign a kitchen helper to stir constantly). After the chunks have melted (about 5 min), place the candy thermometer on the side of the pan.
2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of salted butter
1 cup milk (whole is better = more creamy)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar
The process of heating the mixture takes a long time. Don’t be worried if your thermometer isn’t climbing quickly. You’re waiting for the temp to hit 244 degrees. I know, right? very specific. This process should take about 30 minutes of heating, stirring, checking the temp. There will be a point that the caramel boils up near the top of the pan, don’t be worried, it’s thickening. Once you hit 244 degrees, remove the pot from heat. Stir in:
1 tsp vanilla
Pour into buttered pan. Sprinkle the top of the warm caramel with kosher salt crystals. Let caramels sit for a while until they are completely cooled. Really, give it some time. While the caramels are cooling, you can cut up wax paper squares. This will become the wrappers for your caramels - try to make them into rectangles, where the long ends will become the twisty parts of your wrapper. I’d say about 3.5 inches by 5 inches. Once the caramels are cooled, cut them into narrow strips, and then slice them into rectangular pieces. I prefer smaller sizes (like a 2 bite piece of caramel). Place the caramels on the wax wrappers and roll them up and twist the ends.
Now wrap and wrap and wrap. Rap while you wrap! Put some Christmas music on and grab a chatty friend. Dream of all the people you can cross off your list with the mounting pile of caramels. Don't worry if you eat more than you wrap. One recipe should make about 60-70 caramels depending on how big you cut them. I almost always double the recipe (mostly to make up for what gets eaten in the process).
I’m actually toying with the idea of turning these guys into a small business. What do you guys think? I’m sure I could sell them to little markets around here in Brooklyn & Manhattan. I’m thinking about online sales too for all my friends in Utah, Kentucky, and other places. But I really want to know if caramels are something you would consider buying online? hmmmmmmm tell in the comments below!
PLEASE message me if you have any questions about the recipe! Let me know how it works out for you! :)