Monday, December 21, 2015

Homemade Caramels

How to Make Homemade Caramels

Those ooey, chewy, caramely, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of goodness that always seem to make their way into the holidays are something I have never attempted because I thought they would never turn out like they were suppose to and I didn't have the time to try just any old recipe to figure it out. And then THE BEST caramel maker shared her recipe on Facebook .... HALLELUJAH!!! She's been making, gifting, selling at the Christmas Auction these caramels for years and they are literally the talk of the town!



However, I must admit, even after seeing her recipe I still needed a little nudge to give it a try because I was sure they were never going to be as good as hers! Thanks to the Mr.'s persistent requests (he knows my love language is through my cooking and baking so how can I resist!) I decided I would give them a try and keep my fingers crossed they would turn out and hope I could use them in my Christmas goodie baggies.  

So batch #1, mix, stir, cook, compare my color to the color in her picture, stir, cook, compare, stir, stir, cook, compare, stir, compare, I think that's been about 30 minutes, done, pour ... this doesn't seem so bad ... this could be a blog post! But of course before I would share her recipe on my blog I would need to check to make sure she'd approve, oh off to Facebook again I go to send her a quick message. 

While I anxiously awaited her response and for my caramels to cool, I started batch #2. This time I paid closer attention to the clock and I think in the end I didn't cook this batch as long, but again it was mix, stir, compare, stir, (she'd be DELIGHTED if I shared her recipe, SWEET, so exciting!), compare, stir, timer, done, pour. 

Now for the hard part, waiting for them to cool so I can cut and wrap them. Let me tell you, this is brutal, like watching paint dry, ONLY because I am not very patient, especially when it's getting late and my bed sounds so endearing! I would try cutting a piece to see if it was cool enough to cut more and it wouldn't be so I would OF COURSE just have to eat the 'ugly' stretched out piece of caramel, and once I had one taste, there is NO way I could stop there. All in all I would have to say they aren't as good as when she makes them, but they are gift worthy and I will continue to make them because practice makes perfect. 

Once they were cooled and had the Mr's taste test approval, I was able to cut, wrap, and bag both batches before heading to bed. 


Homemade Caramels

1/2 lb butter - not margarine 
2 cups powdered sugar
1 can eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Karo white corn syrup
wax paper, cut into approximately 3" x 3" squares

Bring to boil over medium heat, #6 on electric burner, stirring constantly (soft ball stage, I am familiar with this phrase, but am very scared by these candy making terms and phrases which is probably why I have never attempted them). Takes about 30 minutes. Pour into buttered glass 9x13 dish. Cool. Cut. Wrap. Makes about 90 pieces. 

cookies and caramels for the kids' teachers
Batch #3 was needed to ensure every bag had enough and there were a few to spare ... and Batch #4 is already needed. SO GOOD. Each batch I have made has turned out a little different depending on how long I cooked them, but no matter what they all have turned out great. 

The recipe called for name brand, but I will inform you I used all Aldi products only because I am an Avid Aldi Shopper, 6 mouths aren't cheap to feed ... I couldn't imagine feeding 14 like my grandma. I would however be curious to try it with the name brand items and compare the difference. The total cost per batch was approximately $3.50 and made at least 12 goodie bags, which comes out to just under $0.30 per bag. I'd say it was definitely worth the efforts and I am really wishing I hadn't left the few remaining pieces at our family Christmas yesterday so I could indulge in them right now!

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