Caramels – A 25 year journey coming to a end, a pause maybe

I think my love for caramels may be starting to wane along with my love for cold cereal which is another story.  Two things I never thought I would lose enthusiasm for.  I still do enjoy caramels but not the way I used to.  I have been making these caramels for probably 25 years.  That sounds so long so I guess I can say it was a good run!  My earliest memory of loving caramel was on a summer trip across the country in my dad’s Cesna 172.  I had some extra spending money.   My parents gave us a set amount each day to spend on food along the way and since mine was amassing to a significant amount I decided I could splurge on something at the grocery store in Oklahoma City – an entire bag of Kraft wrapped caramel squares!  I remember eating about as many as I could eat until that sick feeling set in.  Then as I was sitting in the front passenger seat next to my dad with nothing much to do, I began to use the caramels as modeling clay and shape it into little bowls and plates and snakes and whatever else came to mind.  My dad would bring home dulce de leche or English caramels from his various international business trips so I guess he liked caramel, too.  At a New Years game night party in the late 80s a friend brought some homemade caramels wrapped in wax paper.  I was blown away that she knew how to make these from scratch and that is when my obsession began.  I have tried a lot of recipes and this one is definitely the simplest not to mess up.

Vanilla Cream Caramels

2 cups of granulated sugar (can use brown for a darker richer flavor)

2 cups corn syrup (can use dark or light depending on what flavor you are going for)

1 cup butter

2 cups whipping cream

Pour sugar, corn syrup, butter and 1 cup cream into a medium to large size pot.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until it reaches 240 degrees with a candy thermometer.  Remover pot from heat and add 1 cup cream.  Return to heat and cook stirring constantly to 244 to 246 degrees.  Pour at once in to a well buttered 9 x 13 pan.  Let cool at least 3 hours.  invert onto a cutting board and cut into pieces with a sharp knife.  Wrap in wax paper.  Makes two pounds.






I put the caramels in an empty Quaker Oats can and then got the idea to cover it with wrapping paper to make it fun and festive.  I think I loved the container more than the caramels this year!



My caramels were on the soft side this year.  I usually pour the hot caramel over a bed of nuts and chocolate chips and then cut into squares for a quick way to get the turtle effect.  I have made the real turtles which are a lot of work and hard to deal with because of their shape and size.  I have poured my caramel over white chocolate and cashews, dark chocolate and pecans, milk chocolate, almonds and coconut.  All sorts of variations over the years and then wrapped the turtle squares into the wax paper.  I ventured into new territory this year.  I bought some flat pretzels and some Pop Chips and layered with caramel, peanuts, mini peanut butter cups and dipped in chocolate.  They are not so pretty but tasted pretty good.  I think the pretzel ones were better.  Henry enjoyed the caramels this year eating a large portion of them.  My older kids said they didn’t really like caramels.  It hurt, but I also realized I wasn’t too into them either.  We all are coming to the same conclusion that we have had enough.  Except Henry, he is young and hasn’t reached his max yet.


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