Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Caramels!

Today, I made these:

Is there anything better than homemade caramel? No, no there isn't. Every year around the holidays my mom's friend at work would make caramels and send them to our house... and they were amazing. I really wanted some this year but making them seemed so daunting. I looked for recipes all over until I finally found the most perfect recipe for simple caramels that had great directions and tips to make sure they turned out exactly as they should: chewy and delicious.

I can take no credit for this recipe, it comes from a great blog Givers Log. The original post on her blog is Here - I highly recommend going to check it out to get detailed instructions! 
Step 1: Grab your candy thermometer and clip it to the side of a 3-6 qt pan filled with cold water. Make sure the bottom of the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan! Bring the water to a boil and note the temperature. Water should boil at 212 degrees- but since my thermometer is not top notch- it marked boiling water at 210 degrees. (I got mine for $5 bucks as Walmart- good, quality candy thermometers can cost upwards of $30 at least)
 Step 2: Grab your ingredients:
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 14oz can of sweet condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

(prepare a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper to pour the caramel in)
 Step 3: Take your butter and chop it into easy melting cubes- and put in an empty 3-6 qt pan until melted. (Use LOW heat)

 Step 4: (Which I don't have a picture of since it takes a little finesse) Add your brown sugar slowly in the middle of the pot. Givers Log points out you do NOT want sugars to crystallize on the edge of the pot - it can ruin your caramel! SLOWLY stir in your brown sugar until it's fully combined with your melted butter- you want to make sure you won't have greasy, separated caramel!

Step 5: Add in your corn syrup and sweet condensed milk (doesn't it look cool?) and stir until it's well mixed on medium heat for a minute- slowly (as to not shock the candy) moving it up to medium high heat until it reaches a boil. Clip your thermometer back on the side of the pan - again making sure not to have it touching the bottom of the pan.
 Step 6: Figure out what temperature will keep your caramel rolling at a medium boil. For me, I needed to slowly turn it to a medium-low temperature- but that's just because my oven burners are ridiculously hot. Adjust it as need be. Frequently stir your caramel until it reaches the necessary softball stage (normally 244 degrees -but because of my thermometer being off I took it off the heat at 242 degrees). Givers Log explains that if you don't frequently stir your caramel will become greasy and separated. After about 30 minutes or so of stirring your caramel will reach the necessary temperature.
 Step 7: Once your caramel reaches the right temp- take it off the heat and immediately stir in the vanilla. This will give your caramel rich color!
 Step 8: Pour in the parchment lined pan so it can cool for a few hours.
 mmmmm looks good, right?
 Step 9: Start cutting!  I used a pizza cutter- which made it really easy to slice through. I cut some in long thin strips and some smaller and shorter like Tootsie Rolls.

 Step 10: Cut wax paper in small squares and wrap the caramels up- give them out or just enjoy them all yourself!

I have to take off my hat to Givers Log, the recipe was great and the caramels are totally delicious. I had to hide them from Michael before he ate the whole pan (which all cut up gave me well over 100 caramels)!

Now I'm going to look for other things to add to the recipe next time I make it- like Fleur de Sal or coffee extract. Yum!

I've got to say- although tedious- caramels are really pretty easy to make and well worth the time. Come visit us in VA and I'll make you some! That is, if Michael doesn't get to them first...


  1. Oh my gosh my mouth is watering, I would love these! Funny I'm Laura and have a Michael too! And a son Michael, well atually 2 brothers as well! Makes for craziness at family gatherings. :) Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. Haha that is too great!! Guess Laura and Michael are just the names for a great couple! Trust me, these caramels are worth the effort! Thanks for stopping by as well :)

  3. I made this recipe for the first time last week and it turned out perfect! I made it again today and after sitting for 2 hours the chunk of caramel is rock hard! I can't figure out what went wrong. Any ideas?

    1. Hi! The only reason it would seize up like that would be if the caramel ended up boiling a little too hot- going past that soft ball stage. Did you test your thermometer with boiling water at the beginning again? I've found from time to time my thermometer can be a few degrees off, which unfortunately can make a big difference in candies! Hope it turns out better next time!!

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