Candy making is as big a part of our holidays as cookie baking is. My grandmother was a candy maker. Today’s recipe is her caramel recipe. We’ve been making it for three generations in our family. My mother remembers sitting at the kitchen table and wrapping caramels. I too, remember sitting at the kitchen table wrapping caramels and eating a few along the way.
Making caramel takes a bit of time. My friend April, who is an amazing candy maker, calls it patience candy because you just have to wait for it.
You will need a candy thermometer to make caramel. This is the one I use. And the other must have for candy is a nice heavy gauge pan. If you don’t your caramel may burn or you will have to stir a lot more. I am lucky enough to have my mom’s old candy making pan. It is the bottom of an old pressure cooker and works great. Goodwill is a great place to pick one up or if you’d like a new one this is a good heavy gauge pan.
How to Make Caramels
Caramel is made in stages. You first combine sugar, corn syrup and half and half and boil for 10 minutes and then gradually pour in the half and half.
Then add in the butter.
And then cook the mixture over a medium low heat. Don’t rush it or you will burn it.
Stir the caramel as it boils to avoid it burning on the bottom. You want the temperature to reach 243 degrees. As it gets closer it will get thicker and more golden brown. After it reaches 243 pour it into 2 buttered 8 x 8 pans As you pour it into the pan, do not scrap the bottom of the pot. You may find some of the caramel has stuck a bit and even turned dark brown. That is fine but you don’t want to scrap that into your finished caramels.
Now allow the caramel to set up. As you pour it into the pan, do not scrap the bottom of the pot. You may find some of the caramel has stuck a bit and even turned dark brown. That is fine but you don’t want to scrap that into your finished caramels.
Then it is time to enlist the help of the kids – it’s time to cut and wrap the caramels. I get about 25-30 caramels out of a pan. I usually cut mine about 1″ x 1 1/2″.
Place the piece of caramel on a small piece of wax paper. Make a log shape out of my caramel by folding the caramel in half and wrapping it up in the wax paper. Then twist the edges.
These homemade caramels are soft and delicious.
I love to throw a handful of caramels onto each of my holiday cookie plates. They have a tendency to disappear really fast though!!
- 1 1/2 C light corn syrup
- 2 C granulated sugar
- 1/2 C butter cut into pieces
- 1 C half and half
- 5 oz evaporated milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Using a heavby gauge pan, combine sugar, corn syrup and half and half. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil over low heat. Boil for 10 minutes.
- Add evaporated milk a little at a time.
- Add in butter.
- Bring back to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer reaches 243 degrees Stir now and then. Stir more the closer it gets to the desired tempeature. Mixture will thicken and turn golden brown
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour into 2 8 x 8 butter pans and allow to cool and set up
- When cool, cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper.