Friday, January 22, 2010

Mmmmmmm chewy, gooey, sticky caramels! These might just be the reason my pants aren't as loose as I'd like them to be! I swiped this recipe from My Kitchen Cafe I LOVE that they don't need babysitting at the stove. After adding the second half of the sweetened condensed milk in, just walk away... I mean it... don't touch that stirring spoon (but don't walk away too far, you still need to keep an eye on the thermometer!). I used a non stick saucepan and everything slipped out nicely. If you like caramels soft, cook them to 234*, if you like them a bit firmer, cook them up to 248*. (I recommend the lower end of the scale). I've had these wrappers on hand for some time now. I picked them up at a kitchen supply store, but you could easily use wax paper cut into squares. My kitchen shears made quick work of cutting the caramels. Next time I make these, I am going to substitute 1 tsp of vanilla with 1 tsp of rum extract. You can add 1 1/2 C chopped toasted pecans to this recipe when you add in the vanilla, but I like how they just melt away on your tongue and didn't want nuts interfering with that! These kept well for a month at room temperature. They did start to get a bit firmer towards the end of the month.

Homemade Caramels

2 C sugar
1 1/2 C light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1/4 tsp salt
1 C butter
2 tsp vanilla

In a medium sized, heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, salt and butter. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Once it comes to a boil, add the rest of the sweetened condensed milk, stirring just until it reaches a boil again. Boil the mixture still at medium-low heat, without stirring until the mixture reaches 234*(soft) to 248* (firmer). When the caramel reaches your desired temperature, immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla . Carefully pour the hot mixture into a buttered 9X13 pan without scraping the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the caramel cool completely before cutting into squares and wrapping in waxed paper.

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