Homemade caramels are so simple to make. If you’ve never made them, you definitely better get up off that chair and do so for your thanksgiving day guests right now!
I also really enjoy saving a small portion of the caramel for special flavoring! In the past, I’ve use anise oil and it was AMAZING. Since I decided to make this caramel early Sunday morning while Joe watched Chievo play, I am appropriately going to make a bit of coffee flavored caramel. And you can find any flavor you can dream of at a specialty baking store (like this one in Berkeley) in an oil base instead of a water base, which is better for candies. Just add a few drops of the concentrated oils to your candy for a whole lot of flavor.
Directions: In a large, heavy pan (at least 4 quart), melt the butter over low heat. Add the corn syrup, brown sugar, and cream to the pan and mix. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure to immerse the thermometer all the way into the sugar mixture. Mix your sugar mixture frequently until it starts to boil (it will take quite a bit of time). Turn the heat down to medium and continue heating and stirring occasionally until it reaches the firm ball stage (248°F). This will take 45-60 minutes. While that is going on, line a 9″x9″ baking dish with foil and spray w/ cooking spray. After your caramel has reached firm ball stage, remove the pan from heat and put the thermometer aside. Add your favorite flavoring and mix well. Then quickly pour your caramel into your lined pan, being very careful to not touch the caramel (it’s super hot). Let the caramel cool until it is firm, then use a buttered knife to cut the caramel into bite-sized pieces (1″ squares). Beware, cutting the caramel takes quite a bit of effort…you might have to use your cuts as perforations and tear the caramels apart and then reform the edges. Wrap each piece in wax paper and twist the ends. They should store at RT for up to 2 weeks.
These caramels oooze deliciousness, and everyone will be impressed with your homemade caramels!