Caramels

Caramel RecipeEvery Christmas, my mother makes AMAZING caramels.  We eat them, and we give them away.  She uses a recipe that her grandmother (my great-grandmother) used to make, and I’m not sure how much further back it goes.You can definitely say this is an “oldie but goodie!”Caramel A fun thing about the way my mom makes them is that they’re hard (think Werther’s).  You  can’t chew them. … I’ve carried on the tradition, but I’ve tweaked it, slightly.  I add a little sea salt, sometimes, pecans (for the adventurous), and most notably, I make mine soft and chewy. 

However, they still taste like Christmas and home and love.
Caramels

Easy Step-By-Step Instructions for Making Caramel

Caramel Recipe

Line a 15 x 10 inch sheet pan (that’s a jelly-roll size, and I included a link at the bottom, if you need to buy one) with parchment. Set aside.

Caramel

In a heavy, six-quart pot, combine
4 cups sugar
3 cups cream (we’re going to add the 4th cup later)
2 cups dark corn syrup
½ teaspoon sea salt

Caramel Recipe

Stirring constantly, over medium-high heat, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat if mixture begins to boil over, but keep the temperature as high as you can without causing a disaster.

Caramel

Continue to stir constantly, and cook for 10 minutes.
It will begin to get thicker.
Remove from heat.

Caramel Recipe

Add the last cup of cream, and …

Caramel Recipe

return to medium -high heat and constant stirring until mixture reaches the FIRM BALL Stage (242 – 248 degrees F.).

Caramel Recipe

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test it by removing from heat and drizzling a small amount into a dish of cold water. After a minute in the water, it should form a ball that doesn’t flatten but is still malleable and will flatten if squeezed.

Caramel Recipe

Stir in
4 teaspoons vanilla
and …

Caramel

… 2 cups chopped pecans, if desired.

Caramel Recipe

Immediately pour into parchment-lined pan. Let sit, undisturbed until completely cool. This takes several hours (overnight is best).

Caramel

When ready to cut, …

Caramel Recipe

… use parchment to lift caramel from pan.

TIPS for CUTTING CARAMEL

Caramel Recipe

1. Use a butter knife, and score the caramel where you want to cut.
2. Then instead of using brute strength (which only smashes the caramel and makes it stick to the knife), gently run the knife in the score mark, applying light pressure. It takes several times back and forth, but you’ll create a beautiful clean edge.
3. Cut into squares, using the same method.
4. Continue until all done.
This recipes yields approximately 260 (2 x 2 x 1.5 cm cubes)

Caramels

Wrap them in pieces of …

Caramel

… wax paper.

Caramel Recipe

If you like nuts, DEFINITELY try this with the pecans!

Pecan Caramels

So delicious!

Caramel Recipe

Enjoy!

If you prefer to make your caramels hard (like my mom does) cook them longer.
The temperature range you’re after is 300 – 310 degrees F. This is the HARD-CRACK Stage.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test it by drizzling into a dish of cold water. It will separate into hard, brittle threads that break when bent.

Caramel

In order to “cut” caramel that is cooked to the HARD-CRACK stage you have to score it before it cools completely. After it’s had a chance to set for about 20-30 minutes, start making marks in the surface. Use the same technique we use for chewy caramels; repetitive, light pressure going over and over the marks. Do it until the channels are about one-third of the way through the caramel. Let them cool completely (overnight). Then remove from pan, turn over, but hold the whole sheet of caramel up off the counter, supported by a few of your fingers underneath.  Then whack the bottom with the handle of a knife. They should break into squares along the score lines.

Caramel Recipe

Wrap them up just like the soft ones.

Free Printable Recipe for Caramel

Caramels
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups sugar
  2. 4 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
  3. 2 cups dark corn syrup
  4. ½ teaspoon sea salt
  5. 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 2 cups chopped pecans, optional
Instructions
  1. Line a 15 x 12 inch sheet pan with parchment.
  2. In a heavy, six-quart pot, combine sugar, 3 cups cream, corn syrup and salt. Stirring constantly, over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat if mixture begins to boil over, but keep the temperature as high as you can. Continue to stir constantly, and cook for 10 minutes, and then remove from heat.
  3. Add the last cup of cream, and return to medium -high heat and constant stirring until mixture reaches the FIRM BALL stage (242 - 248 degrees F.).
  4. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test it by removing from heat and drizzling a small amount into a dish of cold water. After a minute in the water, it should form a ball that doesn’t flatten but is still malleable and will flatten if squeezed.
  5. Stir in vanilla and pecans, if using, then immediately pour into parchment-lined pan. Let sit, undisturbed until completely cool. This takes several hours (overnight is best).
  6. Use parchment to lift caramel from pan, then cut into desired size. Wrap with wax paper, and store in an air-tight container for up to a month.
Notes
  1. TIP for CUTTING CARAMEL
  2. Use a butter knife, and score the caramel where you want to cut. Then instead of using brute strength (which only smashes the caramel and makes it stick to the knife), gently run the knife in the score mark, applying light pressure. It takes several times back and forth, but you’ll create a beautiful clean edge.
  3. Yields approximately 260 (2 x 2 x 1.5 cm cubes)
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  • Irene Ruf

    Beautiful post, sweetheart!! Yesterday I inadvertently made some that I had to put in the fridge for them to be hard enough to crack–after a second in the mouth, they are nice at chewy!

    • Haha! Sorry that they didn’t turn out the way you like them, but I’m sure they are DELICIOUS! I love you!