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Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Recipe Week: Barely Stir Christmas Caramels

Oh how I love the Christmas Season.  I love almost everything about it: the reason, the decorations, the music, and most definitely the delicious food.  I hope that you'll join with me this week, and celebrate the season by sharing your favorite holiday recipes.  You can find the Holiday Recipe link party here.  It will be open all week long, and I'll leave the link party posted until after New Year's.

I thought that I'd start out the food festivities by sharing some of my favorite Christmas Candies.  In our house fudge, toffee, and caramels were always standard Christmas candies.  I have always had a personal preference for homemade caramels.  They are just delicious.  I married into the right family, because every holiday season my Mother-In Law makes up a big pan of caramels that we all enjoy.

The difficulty in making caramels is having the patience to stir the pan for the recommended amount of time.  Well, if you don't know if your arms can handle 30 minutes of constant stirring, then I have the recipe for you.

This recipe is extremely easy to make, and I've had great success with it.  It will turn out a delicious pan of chewy caramels. It also tastes delicious with toasted almonds or pecans, but I'll stick with the basic recipe.

Barely Stir Christmas Caramels

1/4 Cup butter, plus enough to butter the pan
2 cups sugar
1 Cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup whipping or heavy cream
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Optional: 1 cup chopped and toasted pecans or almonds

1.) Prepare and 8 inch square pan, by lining it with aluminum foil and buttering all sides.

2.) In a heavy sauce pan, combine the butter, corn syrup, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir constantly. When it begins boiling, reduce heat to medium low, and gently boil for 4 minutes without stirring.

3) Remove the saucepan from the heat. Slowly stir in heavy cream. Return saucepan to heat.  Continue cooking on medium low heat, without stirring,  until mixture reaches firm ball stage (or 245 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove the saucepan from heat, and stir in vanilla (and nuts if desired).

4.) Pour caramel mixture into prepared pan.  Avoid scraping the sides of the pan.  Allow the caramels to cool completely (2+ hours).  Remove the caramels from the pan, cut into squares, and wrap in waxed paper.

5.) Enjoy!

*I love to sprinkle set caramels with sea salt for a bit of flavor contrast.

Makes approximately 4 dozen caramels

Link up your favorite holiday recipes here.  I'll be linking up here as well.

I'll be back soon with additional holiday candy and treat recipes. 


Me and My Pink Mixer said...

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog! These caramels look so yummy!!

Anonymous said...

Oooooh yummm

Jo @ SmileMonsters

Create With Joy said...

Thanks for inviting me to link up at Holiday Recipe Week! I have added a few recipes and have signed up to follow you!

I'd be delighted if you joined me at Create With Joy as well!


Erin said...

Oh yum, yum, yum! Homemade caramels are the best!!!

Julia said...

I would really like to give your barely stir Christmas Caramels a shot. I have never made caramels before, probably because they are difficult to make. I think there is something really special about baking around the holidays. It is a tradition that has been kept in my family for years. I have a six month old daughter so I have to find recipes that are easy to make. I work with Better Recipes and I find that they offer a nice selection of recipes that are easy to make and delicious. If this is what you are looking for, then I recommend you check out their Christmas Candy Recipes

Sara @ Mom Endeavors said...

These look yummy! Have never made caramels before, but these look doable. :)
Thanks for stopping by Mom Endeavors and inviting me to the recipe party! Yummy stuff! I linked up the snowflakes and a few others as well!

The Splendiferous Life said...

These look so yummy..

Unknown said...

ok I could be totally missing it, but in the ingredients it does not say salt then in the directions it says add salt?? please help!

Unknown said...

I just added a pinch...only bc I assumed it was left to our tastr. Hope it comes out..I'm making it now :-)

Tricia said...

1/4 tsp salt is what the recipe recommends, but you can add as much or little as you'd like. Sprinkling the set caramels with sea salt is also a delicious touch.

daisy said...

Very informative and It was an awesome post. I love reading your fantastic content. Thanks for sharing it with us. We are so greatful to your sharing.

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