Monday, October 14, 2013

Soft Chewy Caramels

Caramels photo null_zpsddf4b0f2.jpgCandy making is fun especially during the holiday season coming up.  These would be good for Halloween or in a gift basket or jar at Christmas time. 

Next to fudge, caramels happen to be one of husband's favorite candy treats, so I make a batch from time to time and keep extras in the freezer.

He likes them soft and chewy. The softness and chewiness of the caramels depends on the amount of cream used. This recipe makes firm, but chewy caramels. For even softer caramels, try adding an extra 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of cream.

Be careful while making as candy becomes very hot and must be watched while making.  For safety, do not become distracted in the process.

Soft Chewy Caramels
1 cup heavy cream4 Tabs. butter
1/4 tsp.salt
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
Makes 50-60
Line an 8x8 or similar rectangular pan or baking dish so that excess paper hangs over edges. Spray paper and the sides of the pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Over medium heat, warm cream, butter, and salt in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Remove from heat.
Caramels photo null_zps34606ab6.jpg In larger 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir until the sugar is moistened and becomes a grainy paste. Wipe down sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush so there's no sugar crystals on the surface. 

Clip an instant-read thermometer to the side of the pan so that the sensor is immersed in the sugar. Do not stir after this point. The mixture will bubble up and expand when cream is added, so make sure you use a 4-quart pan.
Place pan over medium to medium-high heat. Let sugar syrup come to a boil without stirring. Around 250 degrees, the syrup will turn clear and boil rapidly. Around 320 degrees, it will darken slightly. Between 250 degrees but before it reaches 325 degrees, proceed to next step.
Caramels photo null_zpsaec07d3c.jpgTurn off heat under sugar syrup. Slowly pour warm cream and butter mixture into the sugar syrup while whisking gently. The sugar syrup will bubble up and expand. Stop whisking once all has been added.
Return pan to medium to medium-high heat. Let mixture come to a boil without stirring. It will slowly change to a caramel color. Remove from heat when it reaches 245 to 250 degrees. Quickly whisk in vanilla.
Caramels photo null_zps26b843a7.jpg Immediately pour into prepared mold. Knock the mold against the counter a few times to ease out any air bubbles. Set out of the way for at least two hours.
When set, lift mixture out by the paper flaps and onto a cutting board. Cut caramels into candies with a very sharp knife. Spray knife with nonstick cooking spray if sticks while cutting.
Cut squares of wax paper a little longer than your caramels. Wrap each caramel in wax paper and twist the ends closed. Caramels will keep at room temperature for about two weeks. Or store in refrigerator or freezer in plastic bags. Use as needed. Makes approximately 50 to 60 caramels.

Estimated cost. $2.50 or less.