Monday, December 18, 2006
Christmas Candy - Caramel
This is the hardest, most labor intensive candy I make each year. In fact, I try to get out of it every year, but it is my husband's favorite. The cooking time is long (about an hour of constant stirring), and the cutting and wrapping of each caramel takes quite awhile, BUT nothing compares to homemade caramel. It is seriously so good. Seriously? Seriously.
1 C. butter
1 16-oz. package packed brown sugar (2 1/4 cups)
2 c. half-and-half or light cream
1 c. light-colored corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Butter the foil.
In a heavy 3-quart saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and corn syrup; mix well. Cook and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium, continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently, till the thermometer registers 248, firm-ball stage (45-60 minutes).
Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared pan. When caramel mixture is firm, use foil to lift it out of pan. Use a buttered knife to cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap each piece in wax paper or plastic wrap. Makes about 2 pounds.