This recipe was given to me by a patient and I am thrilled she shared it with me. I love caramels and I make a lot of treats that contain caramel (cookies, cookie bars, candies, trifles, fudge, etc.) and most recipes require you to buy caramels and melt them down. This recipe is SO MUCH EASIER than that! I like to make these scrumptious caramels and dip into chocolate for individual gourmet treats! However, rather than cutting into squares you can let it thicken just a little bit and use it in your favorite cookie or candy recipe that calls for caramel.
This caramel recipe comes out creamy, soft, chewy and buttery tasting. It just melts in your mouth. If you want to kick it up a notch you can add a pinch of chipotle chile powder or garam masala powder or instant espresso powder. (Chinese 5 Spice also tastes great with caramels!) It just adds a hint of exotic flavor and makes the assortment of caramels a fun gift. If I am making them for the holidays to put on a candy plate then I like to make a few different batches with different little flavors. Nothing over powering....just a hint of exotic flavor.
I used to feel overwhelmed trying to make homemade caramels because I needed a candy thermometer, detailed instructions, heavy pots, timers, heavy duty spoons, lots of patients and pray that after all the stirring and time involved (usually about an hour) that my caramels turned out correctly. It was a lot of hassle and if I screwed them up (yes, I have done that a few times!) then I felt frustrated and wasted a lot of time and had a huge mess. This recipe is so ridiculously easy and minimal cleanup that you just have to try it. I find it much easier than unwrapping all the store bought caramel squares and melting them down. Plus....the taste of these are just amazing!
- 1/4 cup REAL butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I like to use the dark brown sugar but the light brown works fine too!)
- 1/2 cup light colored corn syrup (I have heard you can substitute honey or maple syrup but I have not tried that so I just stick with corn syrup)
- pinch of salt (only if your butter is unsalted)
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (I used regular not low fat). Please note this is NOT evaporated milk.
In a large 2 quart glass mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and give it a quick stir. It does not have to be smooth or well mixed. Set your microwave on high for 6 minutes and stop and stir the mixture every 60-90 seconds in the beginning. You may need to stir more frequently towards the end of the 6 minutes if the mixture is bubbling near the top of the bowl. You don't want it to overflow and make a mess in your microwave! I actually cooked my caramel mixture for 6 minutes + 30 seconds and that seemed to be perfect for my elevation and microwave. Pour into 8x8 buttered pan. I put into the refrigerator uncovered for a couple of hours so it could set up a little bit. It should not be rock-hard. I took a spatula and lifted it out of the pan. It stretched out of shape just a little bit but I pressed it back into a square and placed on wax paper. I scored it with a large knife into squares and then used my pizza cutter to cut the squares easily. At this point you can serve them or wrap them into waxed paper. I chose to dip mine into chocolate for holiday gifts. I put the caramel squares back into the refrigerator so they could stay chilled until I finished melting my dipping chocolate. Dip into chocolate and put onto wax paper until set. You can finish off the chocolate covered caramels by drizzling white chocolate on top or adding sprinkles, sea salt or edible glitter.
If you are going to use the caramels for another project you can store it in the refrigerator in waxed paper and put into a ziplock bag for several weeks. Then you can just melt it in microwave to soften or pinch off what you need depending on your recipe.
If you decide to add a powdered spice for a batch of the caramels then add it when you add the sugar to the mixture prior to putting it in the microwave so the flavors can incorporate into the caramel mixture when it is cooking.
|Caramel Mixture in the microwave|
|Boiling and bubbling to near the top of the glass bowl|
|Creamy but still thin enough to pour|
|Pour into buttered 8x8 pan|
|After Cooling, it is ready to cut into squares|
|Ready to cut|
|Ready for taste test!|
|Ready to box up!|
|Ready to give to my friends!|
|Inside the caramel|
Gluten Free Casually