WARNING!! These are extremely addictive. Don't send me your dentist bills! ;)
Yield: about 60-100 caramels (depending on how you cut them) Prep and cook time: 1 hour (not including time to cut and wrap caramels. That takes about another hour or 2) Ingredients: 1 cup butter, unsalted 1 cup light corn syrup 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk 2 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. vanilla
Fluer De Sel for sprinkling Equipment: Candy thermometer 3-6 qt. Sauce pan Parchment paper 9x13 glass dish or rimmed cookie sheet Caramels: 1. Every time before using a candy thermometer, clip a candy thermometer onto a pan full of cold water and bring it to a boil (make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan).
Boiling water should read 212°. Once the water is boiling, make note of any difference in your reading, and adjust your reading accordingly when you make the candy (for example, if thermometer reads 210° in boiling water instead of 212°, then take caramel off at 242° instead of 244°).
High-altitude note: If you live above 7k feet, see the high-alt info below. 2. Line pan with parchment paper, even up the sides.
If you are dipping: Prepare any apples, pretzels, or other things you’ll be dipping. Chop any nuts or prepare any candy you’ll be sprinkling on top. 3. Cut butter into smaller, even sized cubes for even melting. Melt over low in sauce pan. 4. Carefully add sugar by pouring it into the center of the pan. If any sugar crystals stick to side of pan, push them down with a damp pastry brush so they do not crystallize the entire batch and make you want to cry. Stir slowly until well combined with melted butter. 5. Add and mix in corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk. 6. Cook and stir on medium for one minute, then to med.-high until boiling. You want to change temperatures slowly so you don’t shock the candy. Once boiling, clip on your candy thermometer (again, don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan). By the time your caramel is boiling, if you have been stirring well, you should have the butter fully blended into the caramel mixture, not separated. 7. Reduce heat to about medium, adjusting so that you keep a moderate, steady boil. Stir frequently. I’m serious about the stirring. If you let your caramel go too long without stirring, you’ll end up with a separated, greasy batch of caramel. No good. 8. Temperature does not raise at a steady rate, so watch thermometer closely. If you have any doubts about the accuracy of your thermometer, periodically do a test by dropping a little in cold water.
When your thermometer reaches thread stage (230–233°), take out any caramel that you would like to use as dip.
When thermometer reaches late soft ball stage (234–240°), dip in a few apples for caramel apples 9. When thermometer reaches 244°, remove caramel from heat
10. Stir in vanilla.
If dipping: start immediately.
If making caramels: pour the caramel into the prepared pan.
Either way, take care not to burn yourself, this stuff is so so hot. 11. Allow to cool for several hours. Sprinkle Fluer De Sel over caramel and use a knife or kitchen shears to cut pieces. I use a pizza cutter but be careful with it so you keep your lines straight. Wrap in parchment paper wax paper. You need patience for this, it takes a while! So turn on your favorite TV show and get to wrapping.
And, for handy reference, here is the candy temperature list: 230–233° Thread 234–240° Soft ball 244–248° Firm ball 250–266° Hard ball High altitude: If you live above, 7000 feet, stop at 227 degrees! I used the NMSU E215 Guide, which I’ve found to be the best reference. I used the lowest temperature listed for chewy candies. It was the perfect temperature.