RECIPE IDEA: Don’s Homemade Caramels
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Don here, telling you about Don’s Homemade Caramels. It’s the beginning of December and I’m gearing up for Christmas. All the kids expect Don’s Homemade Caramels for Christmas. I’d hate to disappoint them.
These caramels are based on recipe with a long tradition. Legend has it that the Graham and Holden households (my first wife’s maternal lineage) made these for generations. The original recipe came from Dorothy Salem, who may have been related many generations ago.
The first Christmas after my daughter was born we quit traveling to extended family gatherings and began having Christmas at our home.
That’s when the baton was passed via a note in the mail and a well-worn copy of the recipe. The note said: “Now that you are not traveling at Christmas, you will have time to make the caramels. PS: They ship well!” So for the past 40 years I’ve been stirring up at least one batch in the Christmas season.
Don’s Homemade Caramels will keep about a month at room temperature, if they last that long. Send them to family and friends in small gift boxes, holiday candy bags or drop into stockings on Christmas eve for a Christmas morning treat. You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.
Read on for recipe and nutrition…
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 12 ounces [url href=”http://amzn.to/1lyueZN” target=”_blank”]Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk[/url] or [url href=”http://amzn.to/1QyTQmj” target=”_blank”]Eagle Brand Condensed Milk[/url]
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 ounces bitter chocolate, cut into small pieces
- [b]FIRST, A WORD OF CAUTION: [/b]As the mixture heats, the bubbling becomes more violent throwing off bits of hot caramel. A long handle wooden spoon works well to stir the mixture as it cooks. It takes me about an hour from the time heat is applied until I dump the mixture into the pan to cool.
- Butter a 5″ x 7″ shallow baking pan and set aside.
- Add all the ingredients except the vanilla to a heavy bottom 2 quart sauce pan.
- Stir to mix well.
- Begin cooking at medium high heat, but as soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
- As the mixtures cooks, it will thicken and the bubbles will become larger.
- Reduce the heat at bit as the temperature climbs above 212F degrees (100C) to keep the mixture boiling but also reduce the likelihood of a gob of hot chocolate landing on your fingers. (I still have scars from my first attempt to make these in a hurry.)
- Reduce the heat to medium and bring to 240F stirring constantly.
- Immediately upon reaching 240F, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Place the buttered baking dish on a level, heat resistant surface and pour the mixture into it.
- Spread mixture evenly.
- Let cool. I usually leave the caramels at room temperature over night to cool. Do not cool in the refrigerator. They will be too hard to cut.
- Dump the candy out of the pan and cut into small (1″ x 1″) squares—or large squares.
- Wrap the caramel squares in waxed paper.