Happy February! And welcome to my first monthly post of 2019! WOW is it a good one… I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to share this caramel recipe with you. It is perfect for Valentines Day coming up… what could say “I love you” more than homemade caramels??
One of the many wonderful friends I’ve made here in Washington, Cici, is not only the hostess with the mostess but she also has a talented mother Noreen, who has been making these delectable caramels for 30+ years.
I learned this recipe LIVE and in person with Noreen at a caramel making party Cici hosted in December. Why aren’t all parties centered around making caramel?? Can we make that a rule?? Look how cute we are in our red aprons!!
This recipe was passed down to Noreen when she was growing up in “Amish Country” in Ohio. She later started a tradition when Cici was young of making the caramels every Christmas for Cici’s school teachers! Well, they were so loved by everyone who tried them that each year her order started increasing because all of the prior year teachers still wanted some! She was literally making hundreds and hundreds of caramels every December because they were so irresistible… and they still are!
Now, I understand the idea of making caramel can be a little daunting but I promise you this recipe is a breeze and actually really fun! I’ve tried it out a few times and have some tips and tricks to make it as stress-free as possible.
- Make sure you have the time to make this recipe. You will need to spend 12 full minutes stirring the caramel once it is simmering. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time but you’ll need to be paying attention to the caramel. So as Noreen told us, “this isn’t the time to take a phone call!!” LOL
- Use a wide non-stick pan. Both of these aspects are important!! The first time I made the caramels I ended up burning the bottom waiting for the top to simmer because the caramel was too deep in my smaller pan… does that make sense? Using a wider pan allows the heat to distribute better. Non-stick is critical for obvious reasons!
- Be creative!! Baking is a science but it doesn’t have to be so stressful. You could dip these in white chocolate, no chocolate, add sea salt, etc.. have fun! Vanilla and salt are not included in the original recipe but I added them and they turned out great.
- 1 cup salted butter
- 2 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 cup light karo syrup
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 lb semi-sweet chocolate
- 8 oz toasted nuts optional
- Place all caramel ingredients in heavy, non-stick pan. It's better to use a wider pan so the caramel doesn't burn at the bottom while you wait for it to simmer. Non-stick is crucial!
- Bring to a consistent and strong simmer (NOT a rolling boil). Stir occasionally to be sure the bottom of the pan isn't burning!
- Once simmering, cook exactly 12 minutes stirring constantly.
- Pour into greased and foil lined 8 x 11 pan.
- Cool + refrigerate until solid. Cut into rectangles.
- Dip in melted semi-sweet chocolate (follow melting instructions on packaging) and top with toasted nut (pecan, almond, walnut- all optional!). Store in refrigerator- keeps for up to 6 months!