On the ninth Day of Sugar my true love gave to me . . . . homemade caramels
My mom and grandma have made homemade caramels for as long as I can remember.
If I had to choose my favorite Christmas candy, I think it would probably caramels. I don’t remember a Christmas without them. To me, Christmas and caramels just go together— you know, kind of like peanut butter and jelly or a burger and fries.
I think my favorite part of Christmas day as a kid, and even as an adult, was being at my grandma’s house, and after all the presents were opened she would bring out her tins of homemade Christmas candy which always included caramels. I absolutely love them. I usually end up making multiple batches over the holidays, and now that my sweet grandma is gone, I always have to make a batch in her honor.
These caramels really are not hard to make, they just require a little bit of time. They take an hour to make, but are well worth every second of that hour you spend making them.
They are my absolute favorite! These are the best caramels, ever!
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 cups cream
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Lightly butter an 11x7 pyrex pan. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine milk and cream. Stir and then measure out 1 1/3 cups, pour into a large, heavy duty saucepan. Keep the remaining milk in the small saucepan over a low heat.
Into the large pan with the milk/cream mixture, add the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Make sure all the sugar is dissolved before the mixture comes to a boil. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to make sure there is no sugar on the sides. Bring mixture to a boil and continue cooking until a pale beige color.
Add 1/2 of the remaining milk, and continue cooking for 15 more minutes, stirring constantly.
Add remaining milk mixture and continue stirring. As the mixture begins to thicken, pour in the 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk and continue cooking and stirring until mixture comes to a firm softball stage.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour into prepared pan, making sure you
scrape the bottom of the pan. When the caramel has stopped flowing out, stop pouring.
First off, if you happen to have an old pressure cooker pan, they make THE BEST candy pans ever! It's what my mom and grandma always used. I actually would go borrow my moms when I made caramels, but now I have my own pan thanks to my mom and aunt going on a thrift store hunt for pressure cooker pans a few years ago (thanks mom and Aunt Debbie!) They are such heavy pans it's really tough to burn candy when you use them. In fact, I don't stand at the stove for any hour anymore stirring constantly because of my awesome pan. I can now just stir occasionally and be doing other things in the kitchen. Second, I rarely use a candy thermometer. I check for the softball stage using the cold water test. I think it's easier, but you can do it either way. Finally, DO NOT scrape the pan when you pour them out. Just let the caramel pour out into the prepared pan and when it stops pouring out, then do what my grandma always did . . . set the pan down, scrape the sides and bottom and put that caramel in a little bowl, let it cool and nibble on it later!