Are you all busy with holiday baking? I still have lots to do this weekend, and my Christmas tree isn't up yet! But we took advantage of a (light) snow day and made homemade caramels last weekend to give away to family and friends.
I've actually posted this caramel recipe on my blog before, but for some reason, it's gone mostly unnoticed. Maybe because I wasn't specific enough in the title? But this is a terrific recipe that I found in an old Iowa church cookbook from back home, so I want to share it again.
My husband was thoughtful enough to whip out the camera and take some photos to document our caramel-making process. I've been a little slack on the blog lately. (Sorry about that. I just haven't been spending as much time in front of a computer, which is probably a good thing!)
So the first step is getting the cream, corn syrup and butter to reach the boiling point. It doesn't look like much yet.
But as the mixture starts to boil, it begins to "caramelize" and turn brown. My husband used both the cheap-o candy thermometer we got at the neighborhood grocery store, and a digital thermometer just to double check the temperature. You want the caramel to reach the "soft-ball stage," or 245 degrees. If the temperature is any higher than that, the caramel will be too hard to cut and eat. (We've learned this from experience, unfortunately.)
My handsome husband kept stirring the pot to keep the caramel from burning. You can tell he's working in the kitchen, because the cupboard door is wide open. Ha!
When the caramel is finished, pour into pans and let it cool, then cut up in tiny pieces once it's firm.
Then we just cut up square pieces of wax paper to wrap the caramels up. I was smiling at this point, but after wrapping caramels for an hour, I was pretty much sick of this chore!
It may look like a complicated recipe, but it really isn't, as long as you keep an eye the temperature. And people are so impressed when you give them homemade caramels as gifts. So it's worth the time and the little bit of mess.
Here's our homemade caramel recipe. Enjoy!
- 2 C. sugar
- 3/4 C. light corn syrup
- 1/2 C. butter
- 2 C. cream
- 1/2 C. finely chopped nuts (optional)
Butter 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan. Spread nuts in pan. Combine sugar, corn syrup, butter and half the cream in large saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, to 245 degrees on candy thermometer (or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water forms a firm ball). Immediately spread mixture evenly over nuts in pan. Cool. Cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap in squares of plastic wrap.