In a burst of last-minute Christmas making, I tried a second attempt at my grandmother's caramels. I made them for the first time several years ago and it was a complete disaster, but this time the stars aligned and after a couple hours of stirring and standing in front of the stove I was rewarded with some creamy, velvety goodness.
These were a very special treat for us when we were growing up. I remember looking for them in a little crystal candy bowl when we walked down the street to Grandma's around the holidays and sneaking extras when the grown-ups weren't looking. I searched online for caramel recipes, thinking that I might modify my grandma's version to in some way make it fit a little better into the way that we eat now. But, really, it's a bunch of melted sugar. There just is no way to make that healthier. So, I enlisted Steve as my taste-tester (I didn't eat them at all) and with his assurance that they were yummy, a little bag of them was ended up nestled in with each gift. They were a huge hit.
My grandma's recipe isn't much different from all the other caramel recipes floating around out there, but I thought I would share it with you anyway; a gift for the New Year from me to you.
2 C. granulated white sugar
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. light corn syrup
1 C. heavy cream
1 C. milk
1 C. butter
1 1/2 TBS. vanilla extract
Grease an 8x8x2 pan. Combine the sugars, syrup, cream, milk, and butter in a heavy-bottomed 3 qt. pan. Cook slowly over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches firm ball stage (250 degrees). This will take awhile; an hour or two is not out of the question. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour immediately into the greased pan. They will firm as they cool. Once cool to the touch, cut into squares and wrap in wax paper. Yields around 100 candies.