Old Fashioned Caramels
4 1/4 cups sugar
6 cups (3 pints) light cream or half-and-half, divided into 2 cups portions
2 1/4 cups light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with lightly buttered aluminum foil. Set aside.
- Combine sugar and 2 cups (1 pint) of the cream in a large, heavy cooking pot and cook over medium low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, cover with a lid briefly to get any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Add the corn syrup and cook to the soft ball stage (240*F - 115*C) or until a small amount dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water.
- Add another 2 cups of cream; continue to cook and stir until the soft ball stage is reached again.
- Add remaining 2 cups cream; cook and stir until the soft ball stage is reached again. (Each cooking stage takes about 20 to 25 minutes and can burn easily, so keep stirring).
- Remove from heat and add the vanilla and pecans. Pour into prepared pan. Cool completely. Invert pan; peel off waxed paper and cut into 1-inch pieces. Wrap pieces individually in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Store in covered container at room temperature.
Makes about 9 dozen pieces
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