These caramels were "homework" for a candy-making class that I took some time ago...and I've repeated that assignment over and over since! I usually make an extra batch and freeze it for company or last-minute gift-giving. After only about 20 quick seconds in the microwave, the frozen caramel is soft enough to cut, wrap and pack into a candy jar.
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2-1/3 cups (1 pound) brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
- In 2-qt. microwave-safe pitcher, combine the butter, sugar, syrup, milk and salt. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once after every minute. When butter is melted, stir well. Attach microwave candy thermometer. Microwave on high for about 8 minutes or until mixture reaches 245° (firm-ball stage). No stirring is needed. Remove from microwave; stir in vanilla and walnuts. Let stand for 10 minutes, stirring well several times. Pour into buttered 13-in. x 9-in. pan (smaller 11-in. x 7-in. pan yields thicker candy as shown in photo). Refrigerate until cool. Invert pan. Carefully tap out whole block of candy; cut in squares. Wrap in waxed paper and store in refrigerator. (Can also freeze.) Yield: about 2-3/4 lbs.
Originally published as Easy Microwave Caramels in Country Woman November/December 1989, p29
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