My kids love caramels. When we go to the store they have caramels that cost about a dollar each by the register. They are lovely and tasty and expensive. I decided we needed to make our own. Time consuming, this recipe is worth the work. You don’t need to stand over the stove and stir the whole time but you do need to be in the kitchen for a few hours so you can make other things when the caramel are cooking. I made some granola bars and some bread at the same time.
Some of my recipes call for corn syrup. One of the DIY projects that I have undertaken recently is making “corn” syrup out of cane sugar. Corn syrup is expensive and after reading “The omnivores Dilemma” by Michael Pollen, I have been committed to reducing the amount of corn products my family consumes. Not an easy task.
It is very easy to make your own “corn” syrup from cane sugar. This will substitute in any recipe that calls for corn syrup. For example, it works great in my granola bar recipe.
Here is the recipe I used to make “corn” syrup. Cupcake Project, How to make corn syrup.
You should make these caramels because they are worth the work and this recipe yields 120 caramels which will last a long time if kept in the fridge.
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 4 cups home-made “corn” syrup
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon home-made vanilla extract
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
- Spray a cookie sheet or half sheet pan with vegetable-oil spray.
- In medium saucepan, combine cream and sweetened condensed milk; set aside.
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine “corn” syrup, 1 cup water, sugar, and salt. Clip on candy thermometer. Over high heat, cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring with a wooden spoon, 8 to 12 minutes. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals if needed.
- Stop stirring, reduce heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until temperature reaches 250 degrees (hard-ball stage). You need to have a candy thermometer for this recipe because you cannot guess about the temperature. This will take about 45 to 60 minutes.
- Cook cream mixture over low heat until it is just warm. Do not boil.
- When sugar reaches 250 degrees. slowly stir in butter cut into chunks added one at a time, and warmed cream mixture, keeping mixture boiling at all times. Take your time with this step as you do not want the mixture to stop boiling. Add the butter very slowly.
- Cook over medium heat until thermometer reaches 244 degrees (firm-ball stage), and this will take around 55 to 75 minutes.
- Stir in vanilla.
- Immediately pour into prepared pan without scraping pot. If you scrape the bottom of the pot dark brown bits will end up in your candy. Just leave the bottom of the pot alone and throw out what is left after you pour the candy into the pan.
- Let stand uncovered at room temperature for 24 hours without moving.
- After candy has hardened cut into 1 inch pieces and wrap with waxed paper.
- These will keep for up to 2 months in the refrigerator. Keep the candies in sealed bag or jar so that they do not pick up any odd flavors from the refrigerator.