When I was a child, my mother always made Caramel Candy around Christmas. Caramel is one of my favorite flavors. Way back then, sea salt caramel candy wasn't a "thing". They are popular now, though. I love sea salt caramel! When I make a batch of Mom's caramel candy, I sprinkle some sea salt across the top of about half the batch after it is in the baking dish. Oh, they are so good!
This caramel candy recipe makes a hard caramel candy, harder than the Kraft Caramels that you can buy in little cubes. It is a hard candy that you suck on, not chew.
Mom's recipe is not the easiest to decipher, which is the case with a lot of family recipes. They have the basic information and expect the cook to know what to do! This particular recipe lists the ingredients and has minimal instructions that tell you to combine everything and bring to the hard ball stage. Nothing else. I made these with Mom many times, so there wasn't any mystery or experimenting!
After the caramel candy reached the hard ball stage (250F) on the candy thermometer, Mom would pour the hot caramel candy onto her buttered marble slab. The slab was always cool. The caramel would cool down once it hit the marble. She would spread it out, then use a pizza cutter to cut it into squares. She'd let it cool completely on the marble slab, then break apart the pieces. Mom would also use her marble slab when she would make hard candy. The same pizza cutter was used to cut the hard candy. I think her pizza cutter was used on confectionery treats more than it was on pizza!
Most folks don't have a marble slab, so I use a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Since the baking dish doesn't have the instant cooling effect that the marble slab has, I wait a couple minutes before I cut the caramel candy with a knife. Once the caramel candy sets up a little more, I move them onto a buttered cookie sheet and cut them again. I allow them to cool more, then break them apart.
Once the caramel candy has cooled completely, you can wrap them in wax paper like a tootsie roll. When making the caramels just for me, I store them in a plastic container on layers of wax paper. I don't take the time to wrap them individually when they are just for me.
I hope you enjoy!
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Butter a 9x13 baking dish with edges. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
- Add syrup and 1/2 cup of cream in a saucepan.
- Add the sugar.
- Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Slowly add remaining cream, keeping the boiling mixture boiling.
- Continue to slowly cook, stirring occasionally until the caramel reaches the hard ball stage, or 250F.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Pour caramel onto the buttered baking dish.
- You can sprinkle course sea salt on the caramels, if you would like to have salted caramel candy.
- Wait a few minutes, then use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the caramel candy into pieces. You might have to clean your utensil every few rows if the caramel sticks to it.
- Once the caramel candy has cooled to the touch, remove to a buttered cookie sheet or other large flat surface.
- Using the same utensil, cut the caramels again.
- Break apart once the caramel candy are cool enough to handle and set enough so that they retain their shape.