This is the first of twelve Christmas treats I will post about in the next twelve days! Exciting! Or maybe it's just me. Part of the reason I love this season so much is because of the baking and stirring and cutting and wrapping and eating and delivering. This caramel recipe is possibly my favorite of all Christmas treats. I remember the first time I made these, back when I was the only one who lived in my then clean (but very boring) home. I stood over my stove stirring for what seemed like forever, thinking, THESE BETTER BE GOOD, DANGIT. When they were finished, I vowed to never complain about the cooking and stirring process again because they are chewy, buttery, sugary deliciousness at its very best. So here you go, friends..
Day One of Twelve Days of Christmas Treats!
Coat a 9x13 baking dish generously with cooking spray and set aside. You will be needing a candy thermometer for this recipe. Candy thermometers aren't as intimidating as they may seem. You can purchase a decent one for ~$10, and they are easy to use.
In a large, heavy-duty saucepan, combine:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer reads 243 degrees F.
At first the stirring speed can be fairly slow. You can, say, stir with one hand while perusing Pinterest with your other, if that is your thing. The entire cooking process takes me somewhere around 45-50 minutes. A little over halfway through, the stirring must become a little more vigorous, as you must make sure the mixture does not burn.
Occasionally dip the candy thermometer into the middle, being careful not to touch the bottom of the pan, until you get a reading. 243 degrees is my magic number. Any less and the caramels are too gooey. Any more, and they are too chewy.
When you reach the magic number, immediately remove the pan from the heat and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Stir until combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared 9x13 pan. Allow the caramel to cool completely.
Cut into 1/2-inch x 1-inch pieces and wrap individually in wax paper.
You will love these! So will your neighbors, friends, children, you get the idea. ENJOY!