Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.
Every year, for the last 13 years (or so!) I have made these caramels as part of my holiday baking. They get rave reviews every year and I must admit, it is one of the candies that I make that I never get tired of eating! This is probably the trickiest of my homemade candies because it is the only one that requires a candy thermometer and success (or failure!) is dependent on an exact temperature! A few degrees too low and you have butterscotch syrup, a few degrees too high and you will lose your teeth when you bite into it!
You can find a candy thermometer just like this one in Michael’s. (use your 40% off coupon and save some money!). Calibrate it when you first get it. (basically, boil water and see what the temperature says…it should boil at 100 degrees Celsius which is 212 degrees Fahrenheit) Adjust your final candy temperature as needed. If your thermometer showed 99 degrees Celsius in boiling water, adjust your final temperature 1 degree. Make sense? I double the original recipe and use half of it to make turtles. If you don’t want to attempt that yet, stick with a single recipe.
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/16 tsp lecithin (optional! helps keep them soft longer…found in candy supply stores)
1. Butter a glass 13 x 9 inch pan VERY WELL and set on a cooling rack for later.
2. Fill a small glass with water and grab a pastry brush. You will need these to wash down the sides of the pan after the ingredients are added.
3. In a heavy 3 quart sauce pan put the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and 1 cup of the whipping cream
4. Place over medium high heat and bring to a rolling boil stirring almost constantly
5. SLOWLY add the remaining 1 cup cream so the boil does not stop! You will be stirring constantly and adding a trickle of cream. It will take a while but don’t break the boil or you risk grainy caramels!
6. Once all the cream is added, add the lecithin. Dip the pastry brush in water and gently wash down the sides of the pan so there are no sugar granules left. Don’t use too much water, just enough to get the job done.
7. Put on the candy thermometer and cook (stirring frequently) until the temperature gets to 244 degrees Fahrenheit. (2 degrees higher will give you a firm caramel, 2 degrees lower a softer one…I find 244 just about right.
8. Pour the caramel into the buttered pan.
9. Let cool several hours or overnight
10. Cut with a buttered knife and wrap in individual wrappers or you can dip each one in melted chocolate. I have done both.
If you want to move on to turtles, get 2 heavy weight cookie sheets and butter them well. (I used anodized steel ones this year and they didn’t stick at all!) Cover with a thick layer of chopped nuts. Before you pour your caramel into the 13 x 9 inch pan use a ladle to scoop some into a candy funnel Pour small amounts (half dollar size) in spots all over the nuts. Go back and do a second layer over the same spots. Let cool. Pull the pieces off the pan and shape into the size turtles you want (you will have random nuts sticking all over the place, just break them off as needed). Now they are ready to dip in chocolate and become turtles!
Yield: For the double recipe (which your will probably need if doing turtles!) I get 70-80 caramels and 50 to 60 turtles. A single recipe without doing the turtles will yield about 75 caramels. They will last 2 weeks or so at room temperature.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! Not sure if I did a great job explaining the whole thing! It sounds hard but if you do it a few times you will get used to the process!