As I type this post I’m just finishing up my first day at a blogger conference called SNAP, in Salt Lake City, UT! It’s been such a blast meeting bloggers I’ve admired from afar, in person, and learning so much about how to make this blog even better!!
There was a lot to do in preparation for SNAP, but one thing I did was attach my business cards to a little goodie bag with some of my Mom’s famous caramels to give out to friends and new acquaintances! What better treat to show off my love for cooking from scratch, right?!
My family usually reserves them for our special treat at Christmas time. We give them as neighbor gifts and always have a huge batch to enjoy ourselves! But making them for SNAP made me realize how much I would love to have these little gems all year round! They are seriously the tastiest little caramels ever! “Melt-in-your-mouth delicious” is probably the best way to sum them up! And the best part about them….you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry!
Homemade caramels are perfectly soft and chewy and so easy to make!
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 cups light karo syrup
- 2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Line a 9x13'' pan or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. (If you don't have parchment paper you can generously butter the pan.) Either size pan will work--9x13'' will yield thicker caramels.
Add 2 sticks butter, sugar, and karo syrup to a large heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Stir over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, about 5-10 minutes.
Gradually add the evaporated milk, one can at a time, taking about 12-15 minutes PER CAN to slowly add it, while stirring constantly. You want to make sure the mixture maintains a constant boil, otherwise your caramels can curdle.
Stir the mixture constantly, scraping the sides occasionally until it reaches a firm ball stage (about 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer). It takes patience and time, but it's sooo worth it! (Also, I don't always trust or rely on a candy thermometer either--I like to test it the old fashioned way. Drop a spoonful of hot caramel sauce into a cup of ice water and mold it with your fingers into a ball. When ready it will feel pretty firm and pliable, but still slightly sticky.) Once you reach 238 degrees F / or the firm ball stage, remove from heat. Stir in vanilla.
Pour caramels into a buttered pan. Refrigerate until cooled and hardened. (Best if you refrigerate them overnight, or for several hours. They will be easy to cut and wrap). The caramel will seem hard in the fridge after they're set, but they should be soft at room temperature. Cut caramel into small pieces and, if desired, wrap like a tootsie roll in wax paper.
*makes about 80 caramels, in a jelly roll pan