I love caramel. I don’t love how most commercial caramel sticks to my teeth. So what’s a girl to do? MAKE HER OWN! Yeah! Ok, can you tell I’m excited here?
Making your own homemade caramel is easy- you just dump all the ingredients in a large saucepan, and away we go! HOWEVER- it is time consuming…like don’t walk away for a good 45 minutes…time consuming. It is worth it though, I promise. And once you make this recipe, you can use it for so many yummy treats (caramel dipped apples, homemade snickers, turtles- the list goes on).
Are you ready for a story? No? Read it anyways (please)- it’s cute!
Picture this: mid December and my decorated Christmas tree was in the living room. Lights shimmering and reflecting off the ornaments, while snow was falling gently outside the bay window (ok, ok, I’ll get on with the story). I am standing at my stove, making a batch of caramel while my kittens were sleeping peacefully…or so I thought. The caramel had just come up to a boil- this is a point that you CAN NOT walk away- when all of a sudden I hear ornaments hitting the ground. It was like they knew I couldn’t walk away! All I could do was yell at them while still stirring the caramel. Looking back, I could have turned the heat off or moved the pot, but I wasn’t thinking. Oh well, it did make me laugh afterwards, and I think of it every time I make caramel.
Chewy Homemade Caramel
Makes 8×8 inch pan
Time: 35-45 minutes, from start to finish
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream (heavy whipping cream can be used also)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, optional
In large heavy saucepan, combine all ingredients, except vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously (you can use a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula). Once it reaches a boil, do not walk away- you need to keep stirring.
Caramel burns very quickly. Once the mixture looks like it’s subsiding and starting to thicken up, attach your candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Be careful not to let it rest on the bottom of the pan, as it will throw off your temperature readings.
You are looking for a temperature of 240-245 degrees (depending on how chewy or hard you prefer). Once it reaches 240 degrees, take it off the heat and add your vanilla extract, if using. I like to continue stirring the mixture, as it helps cool it down a little (this mixture is hot and will cause serious burns).
Pour caramel into a foil lined, buttered, 8×8 inch baking dish. Let cool to room temperature (this will take a few hours). Cut into serving size pieces. Enjoy!
Oh, just a quick note to go with the story above… I was smart this time (No, I don’t have Christmas ornaments out), I fed the cats their dinner right before I started making the caramel! :)
Made with love, not calories!