Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cream Caramels

What would Christmas be without homemade caramels. I learned how to make caramels when I was a teenager from an expert candy maker/ my teacher at church. I was pretty sure they were the best thing I'd ever tasted. I made those caramels many times, but then somehow/somewhere lost the recipe. So I began my search. I had made these little treasures enough to remember basically how they were made and with what ingredients- I just couldn't remember the amounts. I did some experimenting and think I've come up with that original recipe- or maybe even better! The trick- there's always a trick- is to make them so they will be soft, but not so soft they stick to your waxed paper wrappers. It's almost impossible to teach that in a blog, but just keep trying. It is so worth the effort!

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups light corn syrup
1/2 cup SALTED butter
2 cups cream

In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter and 1 cup cream. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, to soft ball stage. To test, put some cold water in a bowl. Spoon some of the candy mixture into the bowl. Let it cool, then try to form a ball in the water. When the candy forms a ball that holds together under the water, that is soft ball stage. If you lift it out of the water, it just kind of melts and spreads in your hand, but under the water it forms a ball. At that point, keep stirring while you very, very slowly pour in the other cup of cream. Just stream it in so that the mixture keeps boiling all the while. Then cook until the candy is hard ball stage. Again, get a bowl of cold water and use your spoon to put some candy in. When it forms a ball in the water and that ball holds together out of the water, it is hard ball stage. The candy changes very quickly at this point, so work fast. Pour immediately into a buttered 9-inch pan. If you want you can have chopped pecans waiting in that pan. That is optional. I prefer it without nuts. Let cool without disturbing for several hours. Then, cut and wrap in saran wrap or waxed paper. I use clean kitchen sheers to cut the caramels. It is so much easier than a knife. If your caramels are too soft- no problem. Just put the candy back in the pan and add another cup of cream and try again.

I know most candy makers use a candy thermometer. I've never had good luck with them. The old-fashioned cold water test works best for me. Merry Christmas!


Joan Morris said...

Yum, I love home made caramels. Will you make some for me?? Was is Sister Simmons who taught you to make them??

Joan Morris said...

They came in the mail yesterday! Thank you so much. They are delicious!