A couple of years ago I made all the candy for the stockings. I cooked up about five different kinds of candy, wrapped each piece individually, and placed them in tins. Since we have a unheated root cellar in our basement with a door on it, I simply put the tins of candy in the root cellar until Christmas Eve, when I filled the stockings. The homemade candy was a big hit, so this year I decided to cut back on the Christmas cookies that I make and make candy for the stockings again. This morning I made Creamy Caramel Candy. Making candy at home is not hard, it just takes time. I also took some pictures of the process. If you want to skip right to the recipe, scroll down to the bottom, past the pictures.
First line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil. (I actually used a 9-inch square pan.) Then rub butter all over the foil.
Next, put 1 cup sugar, 1 cup corn syrup, and 1 cup butter into a large pan. (I doubled the recipe, which I don’t recommend, unless you have made candy before.) Scrape the corn syrup out of the cup measure with a flexible spatula to get all of the syrup into the pan.
Before turning on the heat, set out an opened can of condensed milk and the vanilla. Put measuring spoons beside the vanilla. You will use 1 teaspoon and you don’t want to have to go looking for it when it’s time to put it into the candy.
Stir the sugar mixture over medium heat until the mixture melts.
Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Boil slowly for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. (Note: Do NOT drop the can of milk on the floor upside down! Not that I would know anything about that!) Reduce the heat a little and cook until a candy thermometer reads 238F, soft-ball stage. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use the cold water test. When the syrup has changed to a golden brown color, start testing. (You need a helper for this step to stir while you test the syrup.) Dip a spoon into the boiling syrup and take up a small amount of syrup. Drop the spoonful into a small glass or cup of cold water. If the candy forms a soft ball in the water, it is done.
When the soft ball forms, take the syrup off the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour the syrup into a prepared pan. (Or, in my case, pans.) Sorry, my pictures of pouring the syrup into the pans didn’t turn out. 😦 But here is a picture after the syrup was poured up.
Let the candy cool completely. My recipe just said to cool, but I found another caramel recipe that suggested to allow the candy to cool for four hours before cutting, so that’s what I did. It must have worked because the candy was much firmer than the last time I made this recipe. Turn the pan over on top of a chopping block. Peel off the foil SLOWLY. ( That picture didn’t turn out either.) Use a large knife, a serrated knife, if you have one, and using a sawing motion, cut the candy into strips one way, then the other way, to make squares. Try for about 1-inch squares, but don’t worry. The candy police will not come to your house to measure your squares.
Tear off a strip of plastic wrap and cut it in half. Place a caramel in the middle of each piece of plastic and wrap into a little bundle, with the excess fold of plastic wrap tucked under the caramel.
Preparation and cooking time is about one hour. Wrapping the candies takes more time than cooking! A helper, or several of them, would come in mighty handy to shorten the wrapping time.
If you try these, please let me know how they turned out.
And if you like reading magical fantasy about the struggle between good and evil, try my book, A Singular Gift 🙂
1 cup white sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup butter
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Butter the foil and set the pan aside. Combine the sugar, corn syrup , and butter in a 3-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil slowly for 4 minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk.
Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until candy thermometer reads 238F (soft-ball stage*), stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Cool several hours. Turn out of the pan onto a chopping block, peel off the foil and cut the candy into 1-inch squares, using a sawing motion with a buttered knife.
Wrap each piece individually in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Store in a cookie tin in a cool place. Yummy.
*If you don’t have a candy thermometer, test for soft ball stage by dipping a small spoon into the syrup and dropping a small amount of the hot syrup into a small glass of cold water. If the candy forms a soft ball, it is ready.