Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Super-Easy Salted Caramels

Caramels are MY JAM. Since I was a little girl, I ALWAYS gravitated towards caramels. I distinctly remember spending Halloween nights, going through my pillowcase of candy, and picking out all of the chewy little Milk Maid caramels. Anytime I picked out candy, it was always SOMETHING with caramel, like Rolos or Milky Ways. If there was a Whitmans or Russell Stover chocolate assortment hanging around, you can probably guess which pieces I picked out. 

I tried making my own caramels once. The first batch, I burned the living crap out of. The second batch, I burned the living crap out of ME on. So I gave up, content to just buy funky storebought caramels. And eating homemade dulce de leche straight from the jar. 

Then, a few years ago, I was introduced to salted caramels. Delectably sweet, perfectly chewy, and topped with just a few grains of coarse salt, which I did NOT expect to work with caramel, but it did. OH AND HOW IT DID.


Recently, I stumbled across a recipe for caramels that didn't require bubbling hot sugar lava or a candy thermometer. All it required was a microwave and a spoon. I was sold. And now, I can enjoy salted caramels whenever I want! These are the perfect caramel - soft, chewy and just buttery enough - mmmm!



Super Easy Salted Caramels
adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt

Combine the butter, sugars, corn syrup and condensed milk in a large microwave-safe container. Microwave for 4-6 minutes on HIGH, stirring every two minutes.


After 2 minutes...





After 4 minutes...





After 6 minutes. 





Carefully remove the caramel from the microwave (it WILL be hot), stir in the vanilla, then pour the mixture into a greased 8x8" baking dish.



*I like to use a greased silicone ice cube tray as well; once cooled, you can easily push the caramels out from the bottom of the ice tray. Plus, the caramels will already be the perfect size & shape, so no cutting!*




Let cool slightly (about 5 minutes), then sprinkle lightly with salt.



Let cool at room temperature, then cut into squares. Store an air-tight container, individually wrapped in wax paper.





When I use the ice cube trays, I go ahead and stick the trays in the fridge; after about 30 minutes, the caramels will have firmed up enough to remove and wrap.



11 comments:

  1. Amazing! Thats great that you can make this with a microwave! Sadly I've bought the ingredients to do in a saucepan.. damn it! I don't have a candy thermometer - can't I just use a regular one! Anyway well done on these they look delicious!

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    Replies
    1. A regular thermometer probably won't work, since it won't go up high enough. You want to get the caramel mixture up to 234 degrees, which is known as the firm-ball stage. You can actually test the mixture WITHOUT a thermometer; simply drop a bit of the mixture into some VERY cold water. When the mixture is at firm-ball, it will form a firm-ish drop that can be flattened with pressure, but won't flatten on its own.

      Here's a great link on how to test candy without a thermometer: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/candy/sugar-stages.html

      Hope this helps!!

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  2. Hey,Soul Caramel Sister~
    Thanks for sharing! These are making there way across Pinterest right now. I'm going to make them for a high school bake sale tomorrow. I think they will sell! That is if there are any left when I'm done. :-P

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    Replies
    1. Yay for Pinterest! I hope that your caramels do well at the bake sale, but I'm sure that they will. Who can turn down chewy caramels?? Thanks for reading, Donna! :)

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  3. I saw this on Pinterest too! :) Interestingly, this is very similar to a recipe I use for Caramel Popcorn...the only difference is there is no milk and baking soda is added after it's removed from the microwave. I love caramels too and I really can't wait to try your recipe! Thank you!

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  4. Can I use dark corn syrup?

    Thanks so much from Missouri!

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    Replies
    1. Sarah, I've never used dark corn syrup, so I don't know how it will work. Typically, candymaking always calls for LIGHT corn syrup.

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  5. Julia, these do sound good. Cheers

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    Replies
    1. As always, thank you for hosting and for the invite!

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  6. Found your post through Carole's Chatter. You just blew my mind with the ice cube tray caramels! What a genius idea. I just can't get over it! I also just so happened to buy some today for ice...but now I am looking at them in a whole new light!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lindsey! I also freeze juice, coconut water, pureed fruit and even yogurt in ice cub trays - once solid, I pop the cubes out and store in a freezer bag for making smoothies! The flexible ice cube trays are also GREAT for making fudge :)

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