Soft buttery homemade caramels are made with simple ingredients like sugar, butter, light corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. The result is a delicious soft caramel candy that is perfect for the sweet-tooth cravings or gift-giving.
This was a first for me, I have never really attempted making candy. Hearing how easy it was to ruin a batch by not stirring constantly or scraping the sides and having the sugar crystals ruin it all just scared me away. I watched a friend make them a couple of years ago and thought, “eh, no way!” Fast-forward to this year – I bit the bullet when the same friend reminded me how simple it really is. You just need patience and good music.
If I am being totally honest here (and I am); it really was easy! I was not disappointed with the result and if you follow the tips I learned along the way, you will not go wrong either. A candy thermometer is a must!! The tips are posted at the end of the recipe. Be sure to ready then before starting the recipe, it will make the process smoother. Here’s your only warning…this is not a quick recipe, easy, yes but time-consuming (that’s where the patience comes into play.)
I’m showing you a few pictures of the process, so you will be able to see what the candy will look like at each stage as you are cooking.
The caramels are soft, buttery, and chewy. Perfect for a sweet treat or to give as a gift for teachers, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or just because.
- a good candy thermometer
- wax or parchment paper
- 1 can sweet condensed milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ cup light corn syrup
- Heat-proof rubber spatula or wooden spoon
- Prepare a 13x9 inch baking pan by coating it with butter. Do not miss a spot or your caramel will stick to it. Set aside.
- In a large dutch oven pot, combine all ingredients. Over medium-low heat, stir constantly until the candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees. This will take a bit of time. Be careful to NOT scrap the sides of the pan with your heatproof spatula or wooden spoon. Doing so will cause the sugar to crystallize and ruin your candy.
- Once your caramel candy mixture starts to change colors, this is the time to stick your candy thermometer in the pan. Warning: do not remove the thermometer once you have it in there. If you need to, be sure to wash it completely before placing it back in the pot.
- When your candy reaches 240 degrees, it's time to pour it into your prepared pan. Be very careful, the mixture is really hot (240 degrees hot!) Have a bowl of ice water on hand just in case the mixture splashes on your hands or arms as you are pouring.
- Let the caramel candy cool completely, it will take a couple of hours to do so. When it is, cut into desired sizes and shapes.
- Wrap each piece of caramel candy in a piece of wax paper or parchment paper.
Make sure you stir caramels with either a wooden spoon or a spatula that can stand high temps.
Try not to splash on the sides because when you are stirring and don't scrape the sides back in there, scrape only the bottom of the pan. If you bring the sugar crystals from the sides of the pan back into your candy it will crystallize it and be all crunchy instead of smooth when it is all done.
Put your candy thermometer into the candy after it has boiled for a bit and started to change colors don't drag it around because scraping the metal to metal together can also crystallize your candy. ALSO, once you put the thermometer in you have to keep it in until it is done, don't take it out and put it back in unless you clean it.
Keep the heat on a medium-low heat and if you start seeing little brown specks in your candy take it off the heat immediately and turn it down. That is the candy scorching.