Saturday, May 5, 2007

Clio’s Caramels

Clio always makes these at holiday time and wraps them so perfectly in green, red and white.

1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk (15 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Tip from Gael: I measure out and line up all the ingredients first--even the vanilla (which I put in a shot glass) I also line up small bowls of cold water on the stove.

Melt butter in heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add brown sugar and salt. Stir in corn syrup, mixing well. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly.

Now the recipe says to cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches firm ball stage (245 degrees on candy thermometer), after 12-15 minutes. But for me, this made it too hard. I suggest heating and stirring it for 12-15 minutes, then putting candy thermometer in pan. Keep stirring, but only let it get to the stage below firm ball (soft ball). Keep testing by dripping some candy into the water bowls, leaving it for 30 seconds and then testing to see if it's caramel-like firm or too soft. When it's the firmness you want, quickly take it off the heat, stir in vanilla and pour into buttered pan. (I use a 9 x 13 pan that I've sprayed thoroughly with Pam.)

Let it cool 2-5 hours, then slice it into long rows with a pizza cutter, then hack it into smaller pieces with a chef's knife and wrap with waxed colored wrappers you can buy at Maid of Scandinavia.

TO DOUBLE: Dump an entire pound of butter, a 2-pound bag of brown sugar, a 16 ounce bottle of corn syrup and 2 cans sweetened condensed milk . Other then measuring the salt (1/2 t) and vanilla (Clio wouldn't double that) there's no measuring. Makes 5 pounds -- that's an awful lot of caramels!

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