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How to Make Caramels
These soft caramels have a creamy, chewy texture that melts in your mouth and never sticks to your teeth. They are a great treat and they make a lovely gift from the kitchen.
See the Soft Caramels recipe and assemble your ingredients.
You will need a 9x9 pan, lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. You will also need two saucepans and a candy thermometer.
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Heat the Milk and Cream
Combine the cream and the condensed milk in a small saucepan, and place the saucepan on a burner set to the lowest heat setting. You want the milk and cream to be warm so that the caramel will not separate when you add it in later.
Check the cream and milk occasionally to ensure that it is not getting too hot. You do not want it to boil.
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Make the Sugar Syrup
In a medium-large saucepan combine the corn syrup, water, and granulated sugar, and place the saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves.
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Wash Down the Sides of the Pan
At several points in the caramel-making process, you will want to wash down the sides of the pan. When cooking sugar syrups it is common for sugar crystals to form on the sides of the pan, and if they are not washed off, they can cause your candy to be unpleasantly grainy.
To remove the crystals, wet a pastry brush and brush the sides of the pan where the sugar syrup is bubbling. Continue to dip the brush into clean water and wash the sides of the pan until you do not see any sugar crystals. You... can repeat this process several times during the cooking, if necessary.
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Bring the Candy to 250 F
Insert a candy thermometer into the syrup and reduce the heat to medium. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and continue to cook, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 250 F. Your candy will have a light golden color at this point.
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Add the Milk and Continue to Cook
Once the sugar syrup reaches 250 F, add the softened butter chunks and the warm milk-cream mixture. The temperature should go down about 30 degrees.
Continue to cook the caramel, stirring constantly so that the bottom does not scorch. Cook it until the thermometer reads 244 F, and the caramel is a beautiful dark golden brown. This will likely take at least 15 minutes and perhaps more, depending on your stove and pan.
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Pour the Caramel into the Pan
Once the caramel reaches 244 F, remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately pour the caramel into the prepared 9x9 pan. Do not scrape any candy from the bottom of the saucepan.
For the best results, allow the candy to sit overnight to set up and develop a smooth, silky texture. You can refrigerate it to speed the process, but the texture might be compromised.
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Cut the Caramel into Squares
When you are ready to cut the caramel, lift the caramel from the pan using the foil as handles. If you have used heavy-duty foil you can cut the caramel while it is in the foil (as the picture demonstrates).
However, if you have used regular foil, the foil will be cut along with the caramel and you will have to peel squares of foil off of the bottom of every single caramel candy. To avoid this tedious task, place a piece of waxed paper on the counter. Flip the top of the caramel onto the waxed... paper and peel the foil layer from the bottom of the caramel.
Spray a large knife with nonstick cooking spray. Firmly cut into the caramels, creating 1-inch squares. Wipe the blade and re-spray as necessary.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Wrap the Caramels
This recipe produces wonderfully soft and chewy caramels. Because of their texture, the caramels squares will gradually spread and lose their square shape if not wrapped soon after they are cut. To wrap the squares, cut out small 3-inch squares of waxed paper (plastic wrap also works well) and place a caramel square in the middle. Fold one side over the caramels, then fold the opposite side. Twist the ends to secure the wrapping and repeat with remaining caramels.
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Your Caramels Are Finished
Your caramels are now finished. If you do not wrap them, you can dip them in melted chocolate for a decadent treat.
These caramels are also excellent in any baked goods that call for "soft" or "chewy" caramels as an ingredient. You can also microwave them in a microwave-safe bowl to soften them, then use the resulting liquid caramel as an ice cream or cake topping.
Your wrapped caramels can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.