Salted Caramel Heaven

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Little pillows of sweet, sweet deliciousness (alternate post title)

So my friend (and positivity committee member) came by the house yesterday to show me how she makes her famous salted caramels. These things are seriously dangerous, folks, and apparently super easy!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Butter
3 Cups Sugar (2 C white and 1 C brown)
1 Cup Corn Syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 Tbsp Salt, plus extra for sprinkling over the top
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract

Tools:

a candy thermometer is highly recommended, also a rubber spatula for stirring, a plastic spatula or board scraper, a 9×13 baking pan, and wax paper

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  1. Start melting butter in a large pot (We used my 6 qt stock pot. Use one larger than you need, this gives the caramel plenty of room to bubble without making a mess and keeping arms and hands safe. Hot caramel burns are NO fun). Add all of your ingredients except the vanilla extract. We added the vanilla extract last so it doesn’t have time to cook off and you get full bang for your buck.20150211_03
  2. Stir until your mixture starts to boil, then lower to a medium simmer (on my stove that was 9 then 4). Set your candy thermometer and wait. At this point you don’t want to fuss with it too much. The mixture can break sometimes, so let it do it’s thing and don’t cook it too fast. Don’t let it burn. If it burns, there’s no saving it. If it gets too thick, you can still add more cream to thin it back out. So don’t try and hurry your caramel by cooking it on too high a temperature. Pull mixture just before it reaches the firm ball stage (245-248 degrees). 20150211_0420150211_0520150211_06
  3. When the sugar mixture looks like the first picture above, it’s ready to test. To test to see if your sugar mixture is at the firm ball stage, drop a little of the caramel into a glass of ice water. You’ll know it’s ready when it forms a ball that holds its shape, but is still malleable when pressed (This is always a good way to test your sugar mixture or to double check your thermometer if you’re not sure it’s accurate. To check your thermometer’s accuracy, stick it in a pot of plain boiling water for one minute. It should read 212 degrees).
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  4. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking pan (if you prefer, you can also line said pan with wax paper to make turning it out easier… we didn’t think of this until after the fact…) and salt the top of the warm pan of caramel with that extra salt.20150211_11
  5. Wait until cool enough to handle comfortably. I waited about 4 hours before cutting and handling (my friend couldn’t wait that long, so she peeled hers out early… it was MUCH easier after I waited). I used my spatula to gently but firmly separate my caramel from the sides of the pan and cut it into a size that would be easy for me to handle. Cut it into narrow strips, then the size pieces I wanted to wrap as individual candies. My individual pieces were about 1″x1/2″ in size and I ended up with 16 dozen (probably add a dozen to that… counting how many I ate while I cut and wrapped).
  6. Enjoy! … but not too many despite how tempting… trust me…

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    Also, BE CAREFUL! Tasting caramel around dogs can lead to sudden popularity.

So I learned something new and now I have 16 dozen caramels. I already have 4 dozen spoken for, the other 12 are up for grabs! Who wants some?

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