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Easy Microwave Caramels

 Easy Microwave Caramels
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.
64 ServingsPrep: 30 min. + chilling

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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.