I have been at home for the past few weeks spending time with my family! It is rare to have all of us 5 sisters together, so I couldn't miss out on going home to see everyone! I was craving caramels, so my mom checked the pantry, and she had all the supplies to make them! We wanted them to be dipped in chocolate with some sea salt, so this was a bit of an experiment for us! I loved how tasty they turned out, I had to share! We normally make this caramel for big chunky caramel squares (which is cute when you wrap them in wax paper like a little candy) or use this caramel recipe for dipping apples, or pretzels, so it was fun to try the recipe in a new way! For our first batch, we did a regular batch of caramels and our second batch we chopped up walnuts and mixed them in the caramels.
This caramel recipe is super simple and perfect for lots of caramel uses! My mom got the recipe from a friend who taught home-ec at an elementary school and was a caramel maker for Sees Candy. In other words, this is a great recipe for anyone who has never made caramel before and it tastes amazing :) It is even one you can do with older kids (with supervision, the stove and pans get hot!) My niece Mallory is seven and she had a blast stirring, measuring ingredients and dipping the caramels in chocolate! My little 2 year old niece Lindy enjoyed sneaking caramels off the table :) If this is your first time, I recommend just making simple caramels and skipping the chocolate.
I love caramels because they do not spoil easy, its great to make a ton in one day, and they taste amazing! These are perfect for a party because you can display them on a cute dish, or you can box them up and deliver a treat to a friend!
-Never double a batch. Candy does not do well when doubling the recipe.
-If you make another batch one after the other, make sure to clean all pot/ supplies and make sure they are dry before starting another batch.
-In the container you want the caramels in to shape/ harden in, make sure to grease it up with butter or spray so your caramels slip right out of the pan so you can easily cut them into smaller pieces.
-Get all ingredients out and measured before starting the recipe. That way you can easily pour in the ingredients as needed since you need to stir caramel constantly.
-I recommend using a candy thermometer. It makes it super easy to know when the caramels are done. You just look at the temperature and can see when the caramels will be done. If you don't have a candy thermometer, its ok, you can still make caramels. When the carmel has been cooking for around 7-10 minutes take a little part of the of the caramel out with a spatula and drop it into ice cold water. If the caramel is firm, and you can pull it, it should be perfect!
-Don't be scared to let the caramel bubble on high heat while cooking after all the ingredients are in. It is the only way to get the caramel to the needed 245 degrees.
Recipe for Simple Caramels:
1 lb. light brown sugar (2 1/4 cups packed)
1/2 lb. butter or marg. (1 stick)
1 can Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 c. white Karo syrup
This sticks and scorches easily, so watch and stir constantly. Put corn syrup in pan first. The add butter and melt. Add brown sugar, stirring constantly and finally add milk. Boil over medium. Heat, stirring constantly to 240-245 degrees or firm ball stage- (almost to pulling string stage in cold water). Pour into buttered jello roll pan and top with chopped nuts if desired. (I like to add the nuts in before I pour out the caramel into the pan). Cool in fridge and cut into squares.
To add chocolate and sea salt to your caramels:
2 bags melting chocolate
Melt chocolate according to directions on melting chips bag. Take cut caramels and dip in chocolate. We used tooth picks to dip the caramels into the chocolate. After caramels are dipped in chocolate, let the chocolate cool off before sprinkling sea salt onto the chocolate. The salt gives the perfect touch to decorate the caramels and really helps enhance the flavor of the overall product! Let the chocolate fully cool off/harden and enjoy!